The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread

Posted by: theJourney

The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 09:56 AM

There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)

There are unfortunately few places where one can audition all three instruments side by side. However, we can share the results of auditions by pianoworld members here. Especially for those of us planning purchase this year, it will be good to share both shopping experiences and what our actual choice was.


Has anyone played all three side by side?
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 11:03 AM

How do you pick the top three? For example when you say "VPiano trickle down", wouldn't that imply that the VPiano should be on the list. Also with the Yamaha, the CP5 might be Yamaha's best offering. At least it has "today's Technology" For about $2,600.

But many people will say that today's best piano sounds are done in softwre

My guess is that you will never be able to make a top five list that everyone will agree on unless you constrain it with many conditions and limit the price.
Posted by: EssBrace

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 11:20 AM

Well the constraint is "cabinet-style digital pianos".

We are probably at a point where the best from the big three are more evenly matched than ever before with differences appealing only to taste rather than outright good, better, best type of judgments. I too would like to hear about playing impressions from someone who might've played them side-by-side.

Cheers,

Steve
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 11:47 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

ChrisA smile You’re a very strong stage piano advocate lol… and hence miss the above.

Anyway Chris, what’s your opinion of the Yamaha GH3 or NW action compare to the Roland’s PHAII or PHAIII if they are available? Or anyone who have tried them, what do you think?

I drove almost 110 miles round trip yesterday trying to test a CA61/91. Bummer, the dealer closed on Sunday mad Didn’t think some stores closed Sundays, should have called before going.

Anyway, after repeated tries each the HP-207, CLP-340 (GH3) and CLP-380 (NW). I must say, GH3 & NW actions are a little bouncy compare to a Yamaha Grand action. PHAII of the HP-207 isn’t as much. I always thought I’d get a CLP after I get a chance to try either a CA61 or CA91 but now… I will probably have a change of heart.

What are your thoughts?
Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 12:48 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)

There are unfortunately few places where one can audition all three instruments side by side.

If you visit Tokyo, you can try all of them side by side in Yodobashi-Akiba.
I tried all of them.
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 12:59 PM

Quote:
There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

ChrisA smile You’re a very strong stage piano advocate lol… and hence miss the above.
[/quote]

You asked for opinion. That is what follows Totally non-objective opinions...

The problem is two fold, You pay a lot of money for plastic laminated particle board. If these cabinets were made with the same quality as acoustic pianos it would be different. But these "cabinet" pianos have all the style and build quality as Ikea. Second, It seems that the major companies right now are putting their best efforts in to the v-piano, CP1/5/50.

Also I'd not call any Casio or Yamaha P series DP a "stage Piano" these are sold to home users mostly.

As for Yamaha's "wood" keys. They aren't. Their plastic keys are hollow, all they've done is replace the air in side with wood. The mechanism is the same. Kawai is different. Their wood keys are actually long rockers like on a grand and use a different design from thier plastic action

My opinion of the keys, for what it's worth, is that Roland's "PHA II With ivory feel and escapement" is as good as it gets. Maybe the PHA III version is better but they are so close it's hard to know. But any Yamaha keys GH or better are pretty good. It think the GH and GH3 are really the same (but Yamaha will never come out and say this directly) Lastly I say all Kawai keys are very good.

I've not seen a CP1/5 yet but people here are saying the key action is very light. This is what I'd expect on a Piano that is favouring e-piano and synth sounds.

I'm surprised you say the Yamaha keys are more "bouncy" then Roland's. I thought Yamaha keys were damped" with some friction and it was the Roland keys where you could more directly feel the hammer weights, kind of like a see-saw.

So now what we are looking for here is what? The best console style DP with price under $3K. That does narrow the range down quite a bit.
Posted by: MarkL

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 01:24 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney


- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)


Glad we're starting this playoff of yesterday's and trickle down technology without any subjective opinions.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 01:30 PM

Originally Posted By: mezzo-poor
Originally Posted By: theJourney

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)

There are unfortunately few places where one can audition all three instruments side by side.

If you visit Tokyo, you can try all of them side by side in Yodobashi-Akiba.
I tried all of them.


You can be the first substantive contributor. I am not sure what your priorities are, so I will share mine to see how you believe they stacked up:

1. Realistic keyboard feel and action; pleasure to play; great for classical music; as good or better as upright for silent practice
2. Responsive, expressive, dynamically responsive, realistic sound; "alive" sounding modeled(?), sympathetic resonance like real piano; Debussy proof
3. Stability and strength; feels like real, solid instrument including real pedals
4. Realistic and versatile other voices
5. Ability to record, layer and play one-man jazz ensembles with USB or CD
6. Decent in built speaker system that can stand up to playing piano duets next to a grand

Mind sharing which piano you would place in position 1,2 or 3 for these?
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 01:33 PM

Originally Posted By: MarkL
Originally Posted By: theJourney


- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)


Glad we're starting this playoff of yesterday's and trickle down technology without any subjective opinions.


I have played the Yamaha 380 and heard their spiel several times and this was the best I could come up with. That is why I put the question mark. If anyone can tell me what the Unique Selling Proposition of the 380 is, I will gladly change it. The only thing I could think of besides what I wrote was: sharp & solid.

As to the VPiano trickle down on the HP307, that seems to be a very good thing and something that Roland is pushing. Who doesn't want to have the responsiveness and aliveness of the VPiano in a complete package for half the price?
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 02:56 PM

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
You asked for opinion. That is what follows Totally non-objective opinions...
This is great, Chris. We have a lot of experts or experienced Pianists here like you, who devote a lot of time and efforts into testing and researching DPs to help out inexperienced or new to DP shoppers. We can’t thank enough. But I’m sure the purpose of this thread is to compare only the 3 cabinet-style DPs mentioned. Some of us, me for instance, don’t mind paying a little extra for these fake, plastic laminated board things. I guess it’s just a matter of personal taste. If I already have a grand, I wouldn’t care for another console DP.

Quote:
Also I'd not call any Casio or Yamaha P series DP a "stage Piano" these are sold to home users mostly.
What do I know right? I thought the more portable DPs that aren’t console/cabinet-style are considered either Portable or Stage smile

Quote:
My opinion of the keys, for what it's worth, is that Roland's "PHA II With ivory feel and escapement" is as good as it gets. Maybe the PHA III version is better but they are so close it's hard to know. But any Yamaha keys GH or better are pretty good. It think the GH and GH3 are really the same (but Yamaha will never come out and say this directly) Lastly I say all Kawai keys are very good.
I’m still not clear here. So personally, you’d have PHAII/PHAIII 1st, Kawai 2nd and GH(3) 3rd or GH(3) 2nd and Kawai 3rd?

Quote:
I'm surprised you say the Yamaha keys are more "bouncy" then Roland's. I thought Yamaha keys were damped" with some friction and it was the Roland keys where you could more directly feel the hammer weights, kind of like a see-saw.
This is just me personally. When I played a Yamaha Grand, the keys kind of follow my fingers back. Then I played the CLP the keys are a bit jumpy. They bounce back into my fingers instead of follow back. The HP does the same, but not as much. It’s a shame I couldn’t test a CA61/91 yesterday. I will have to make another hundred mile round trip again. Yuck…

Quote:
So now what we are looking for here is what? The best console style DP with price under $3K. That does narrow the range down quite a bit.
I hope not for the purpose of this thread. Let’s stick to the playoff of these 3 flagships: CLP-380, HP-307 and CA93. Then let individual DP shoppers decide if they want a flagship or go down to its siblings to meet their budgets and needs on their own, maybe in some other means and threads?

For example, I will probably like PHAIII action of the HP-307. Then let me decide if I can get the HP-307 or go down to one of its siblings (HP-303/207/203) as my wallet allows. If I decide to go down to say the HP-207, then I’ll study, research for prices, features etc… separately.
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 03:56 PM

Quote:

6. Decent in built speaker system that can stand up to playing piano duets next to a grand

Mind sharing which piano you would place in position 1,2 or 3 for these?


That last requirement #6 will likely eliminate all but the most expensive "mini-grand" style DPs. Certainly none of the console style DPs would quality. Not unless you added a large external sound system to them.

If you want a DP to be as acoustically powerful as a grand it is going to have to approach the size and weight of a grand. There is just not enough room on the console size cabinet for speakers
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 04:06 PM

Quote:
I’m still not clear here. So personally, you’d have PHAII/PHAIII 1st, Kawai 2nd and GH(3) 3rd or GH(3) 2nd and Kawai 3rd?


I left it a little un-clear on purpose because I don't think there is a clear ranking. I do think the top of the line Roland keys are the best. But I also think that once you reach a certain level of "good enough" then it is just a mater of which you like and I think all Kawai and Yamaha's GH and better keys are "good enough"
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 05:09 PM

It would be remissed to list out "top of the line" cabinet style digital pianos and not mention the Yamaha Avant-Grand N2 upright, although it's a lot more expensive than the 3 mentioned and is in a class of its own, so wouldn't be a comparable review against the other 3.
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Volusiano
One would be remissed to list out "top of the line" cabinet style digital pianos and not mention the Yamaha Avant-Grand N2, although it's a lot more expensive than the 3 mentioned and is in a class of its own, so wouldn't be a comparable review against the other 3.

Maybe we should ask one of the Moderators to change the title of this thread to "Official Top of Line Console DPs: CLP-380 vs. HP-307 vs. CA93 Playoff Thread”? If you agree, I will volunteer to ask.

Volusiano, I envy you. I play the AG yesterday. It just blows me away as far as DPs go. I can’t say the same once I touch a 30+k Yamaha Grand though smile But boy, what an instrument! I’d get one if it’s not way way out of my range.
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 05:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Nguyen
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
One would be remissed to list out "top of the line" cabinet style digital pianos and not mention the Yamaha Avant-Grand N2, although it's a lot more expensive than the 3 mentioned and is in a class of its own, so wouldn't be a comparable review against the other 3.

Maybe we should ask one of the Moderators to change the title of this thread to "Official Top of Line Console DPs: CLP-380 vs. HP-307 vs. CA93 Playoff Thread”? If you agree, I will volunteer to ask.

Volusiano, I envy you. I play the AG yesterday. It just blows me away as far as DPs go. I can’t say the same once I touch a 30+k Yamaha Grand though smile But boy, what an instrument! I’d get one if it’s not way way out of my range.


Hi Nguyen, it's no big deal to change the title of the thread. I just find the "top of the line" phrase a little misleading so I thought I'd chime in.

If you strictly look at list prices for the AGs ($20K for N3 and $15K for N2), it'll scare most people away right off the bat. But list prices don't mean anything, and they can be had for a lot less if you're serious enough to bargain with the dealers. I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 06:05 PM

Quote:
I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.


Did you make an entry in the "prices paid" thread?
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 06:43 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)



I think the TOP OF THE LINE is in fact the Avant Grand
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 06:49 PM

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Quote:
I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.

Did you make an entry in the "prices paid" thread?

Yup, an entry in the "prices paid" thread would be nice but for such high priced instruments, I guess one wouldn't be as comfortable sharing its cost. For example, if I get a grand for 20k, I guess I wouldn't want to share but for a 3k DP, I would have no hesitation. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, Volusiano, thanks for sharing your shopping experience. I think I’m in the 4k or less range. Even if the N2 sells for half its price 8k, my lady would kick my “you know what” if I just mention its name & price. If I want to get one, she’d probably kick me out of the house… for good LOL. laugh
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 06:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
I think the TOP OF THE LINE is in fact the Avant Grand

Yes Dr Popper. It absolutely is. I think the title of the thread is indeed misleading.
Posted by: snazzyplayer

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Originally Posted By: theJourney
There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)




I think the TOP OF THE LINE is in fact the Avant Grand


And well it should be, Doc. Roland's V-Piano is not included because it is a stage piano, but the Avant Grand is the top of the line Yamaha with speakers built in.

Roland must make a top of the range grand style cabinet, and Kawai as well, but perhaps it would be an unfair comparison since the Avant Grand is on a whole other level above anything else.

Betcha the CP-1's technology winds up in a top of the line CLP piano....with the GH3 action...t'will be a killer for sure.

Snazzy
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 06:55 PM

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Quote:
I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.


Did you make an entry in the "prices paid" thread?


Hi ChrisA, no, I didn't before. Like Nguyen said, I wasn't sure if I'd feel comfortable about posting such information of a high price purchase before. But the more and more I read of how people are just scared off with the AG's high prices, and with your prompting, I decided to put the money where my mouth is (when I said it should be much lower than list) and post it after all, in case it's of any help to anybody. I just made an entry there.
Posted by: snazzyplayer

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 07:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Volusiano


Hi ChrisA, no, I didn't before. Like Nguyen said, I wasn't sure if I'd feel comfortable about posting such information of a high price purchase before. But the more and more I read of how people are just scared off with the AG's high prices, and with your prompting, I decided to put the money where my mouth is (when I said it should be much lower than list) and post it after all, in case it's of any help to anybody. I just made an entry there.


Shucks, Volusiano, you got a better deal than I got when I bought my Avant Grand, and I thought I did pretty good.

You sure drove a hard bargain...and it worked!

Pretty savvy. thumb

Snazzy
Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 08:00 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney

1. Realistic keyboard feel and action; pleasure to play; great for classical music; as good or better as upright for silent practice
2. Responsive, expressive, dynamically responsive, realistic sound; "alive" sounding modeled(?), sympathetic resonance like real piano; Debussy proof
3. Stability and strength; feels like real, solid instrument including real pedals
4. Realistic and versatile other voices
5. Ability to record, layer and play one-man jazz ensembles with USB or CD
6. Decent in built speaker system that can stand up to playing piano duets next to a grand

Mind sharing which piano you would place in position 1,2 or 3 for these?

OK, let me show MY brief rating. 1 is the best.

1. Realistic keyboard feel and action; pleasure to play; great for classical music; as good or better as upright for silent practice
1.CA93 2.HP307 3.CLP380

2. Responsive, expressive, dynamically responsive, realistic sound; "alive" sounding modeled(?), sympathetic resonance like real piano; Debussy proof
1.HP307 2.CLP380 3.CA93

3. Stability and strength; feels like real, solid instrument including real pedals
All of them seem good.

4. Realistic and versatile other voices
Sorry, I didn't check it.

5. Ability to record, layer and play one-man jazz ensembles with USB or CD
Sorry, I didn't check it.

6. Decent in built speaker system that can stand up to playing piano duets next to a grand
Sorry, I used headphones. I couldn't play them loudly with loudspeakers.
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/01/10 08:09 PM

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Originally Posted By: Volusiano


Hi ChrisA, no, I didn't before. Like Nguyen said, I wasn't sure if I'd feel comfortable about posting such information of a high price purchase before. But the more and more I read of how people are just scared off with the AG's high prices, and with your prompting, I decided to put the money where my mouth is (when I said it should be much lower than list) and post it after all, in case it's of any help to anybody. I just made an entry there.


Shucks, Volusiano, you got a better deal than I got when I bought my Avant Grand, and I thought I did pretty good.

You sure drove a hard bargain...and it worked!

Pretty savvy. thumb

Snazzy


Snazzy, it was the first N3 ever at the dealership and the salesman (very nice guy, actually) said he wanted to claim to be the first person to sell the first Avant-Grand in the state, so he's going to try to get me the best deal he could. I thought it was just salesmanship talking, but he said make him an offer. So I offered $10K thinking it was a low-ball enough offer that he wouldn't take me seriously. But after a little haggling back and forth, I was surprised to see him come close enough to my offer so I couldn't say no anymore and the rest is history. I can't help but wonder maybe there's a behind-the-door incentive to the dealership for making the first sale of such a product (to get a bigger share in, or maybe some other form of bonus), but he was clear he wanted to make that first sale, and he was very pleasant to do business with. It wasn't like he was unhappy because I didn't let him make more profit. He even threw in a headphone after the purchase unsolicited, and arranged for delivery so fast I literally had it in my home the next day before my check even cleared.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 05:11 AM

As the official behind the official thread I would have no problem with Yamaha being given two slots: the CLP380 and the N2 thereby adding the Avant line to the comparison list. I think it will be very interesting to see how it stacks up to the others, particularly given the fact that many of us who are going the cabinet route already have acoustic piano(s) at home and are looking for a realistic silent practice tool that is other-half friendly and is allowed in the living room.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 05:14 AM

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Quote:

6. Decent in built speaker system that can stand up to playing piano duets next to a grand

Mind sharing which piano you would place in position 1,2 or 3 for these?


That last requirement #6 will likely eliminate all but the most expensive "mini-grand" style DPs. Certainly none of the console style DPs would quality. Not unless you added a large external sound system to them.

If you want a DP to be as acoustically powerful as a grand it is going to have to approach the size and weight of a grand. There is just not enough room on the console size cabinet for speakers




I do see your point.
However, at the moment I use a bargain basement Suzuki SS-90 with small speakers that does put out a lot of volume which has worked just fine for (early) practicing of duets; performance is of course another matter. I should have said "for practicing piano duets".

If the duets were higher up my priority list, I might go for a Yamaha U1/3 with factory MIDI Silent installed before I would choose the N2.

Actually, ideally, I would then buy a Grotrian-Steinweg or Steingraeber grand and let it spoon with my Kawai RX-2. But, that doesn't help at all with the need for silent practice and the appearance that not all discretionary income is going for pianos in order to keep peace in our home. smile
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 05:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Nguyen
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Quote:
I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.

Did you make an entry in the "prices paid" thread?

Yup, an entry in the "prices paid" thread would be nice but for such high priced instruments, I guess one wouldn't be as comfortable sharing its cost. For example, if I get a grand for 20k, I guess I wouldn't want to share but for a 3k DP, I would have no hesitation. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, Volusiano, thanks for sharing your shopping experience. I think I’m in the 4k or less range. Even if the N2 sells for half its price 8k, my lady would kick my “you know what” if I just mention its name & price. If I want to get one, she’d probably kick me out of the house… for good LOL. laugh


I think it is particularly valuable for purchases with list prices of $20000 that the prices paid thread be updated!!!
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 05:34 AM

Originally Posted By: mezzo-poor

OK, let me show MY brief rating. 1 is the best.

1. Realistic keyboard feel and action; pleasure to play; great for classical music; as good or better as upright for silent practice
1.CA93 2.HP307 3.CLP380

2. Responsive, expressive, dynamically responsive, realistic sound; "alive" sounding modeled(?), sympathetic resonance like real piano; Debussy proof
1.HP307 2.CLP380 3.CA93

3. Stability and strength; feels like real, solid instrument including real pedals
All of them seem good.



Thanks for your hands on and ears on feedback.

With regard to the Kawai, I was afraid you were going to say that.

Is it fair to say, assuming you are familiar with the superceded models, that the Yamaha 380 had a better sound than the HP207 but that Roland has now caught up/leap frogged?

And, that Kawai's sound remains its achilles heel despite an amazing keybed?
Posted by: mucci

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 11:49 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
Is it fair to say, assuming you are familiar with the superceded models, that the Yamaha 380 had a better sound than the HP207 but that Roland has now caught up/leap frogged?

And, that Kawai's sound remains its achilles heel despite an amazing keybed?


I personally would not rate the KAWAI CA-93 that bad regarding their sound expressiveness. I actually only tried the CA-63 (which is basically the same sound as the CA-93 on headphones), and I was quite pleased with the responsiveness of the sound, especially after adjusting the keys to my personal taste. This can be done individually by the virtual technician functionality.

My evaluation is based on testing the CLP-380 and CA-63 only but not the Roland.

Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 03:29 PM

So are you rating the Kawai ahead of the Yamaha on sound?
Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 07:57 PM

TheJourney,
sorry, this post becomes long.
As you know, there are so many factors to evaluate pianos. At first let me say it was a very hard task for me to summarize these factors to just a few ratings.
Let me describe what I did to make this rating. Yodobashi-Akiba had all these three models, so I could tried all of them side by side. I played following pieces for each model.

Fantaisie-Impromtu (Chopin)
Intermezzo op.118 no.2 (Brahms)
Jardins sous la Pluie (Debussy)
Clair de Lune (Debussy)
Autumn Leaves (ad lib)
Thriller (M. Jackson)
a Japanese rock
a Japanese animation song

Due to noisy environment, I gave up evaluating the sound from loudspeakers. I used my noise-canceling headphones.

Originally Posted By: theJourney
Is it fair to say, assuming you are familiar with the superceded models, that the Yamaha 380 had a better sound than the HP207 but that Roland has now caught up/leap frogged?

At first I should say CLP380 and HP307 have different colors of sound. CLP380 has bright sound. HP307 has mellow sound. It is difficult to compare different colors. However...
I felt the CP380's change of tones in the range ppp-mp was good while HP307's was just a little insufficient. In HP307 they adopted the new technology to interpolate the sampling-layers called "SuperNATURAL" however I still felt CP380's change of tones around pianissimo was better. CP380 has 5 layers. Does HP307 have 4 layers?
On the other hand, I felt HP307's sound has higher resolution than CP380's. In other words, I felt more detail from the sound of HP307 than from CLP380. Finally I voted HP307.

Originally Posted By: theJourney
And, that Kawai's sound remains its achilles heel despite an amazing keybed?

About the heaviness of touch, I felt
my upright > CA93 > HP307 > CLP380.
So I voted CA93. I thought CA93 was good for practice for playing acoustic pianos.
However playing some rapid passage on the piano which has heavy touch becomes difficult. The number of repeated notes (on middle C) per second I felt easy to play was
my upright (9.5) < CA93 (10) < HP307 (10.5) < CLP380 (11).
So I thought CLP380 was good for recording rapid pieces.
About the sound of CA93, comparing to CLP380, I felt that the change of tones in the range ppp-mp was insufficient. And I minded the quality of the attack of sound. In acoustic pianos, non-linear and transient phenomena happen when a hammer strikes strings. These non-linear transient attacks make piano sound more realistic. However I felt CA93's attack was too smooth. In other words, I felt something like listening to someone who didn't pronounce consonants clearly. This was not improved by tweaking the parameter of hammer hardness.

However I thought CA93 was good for accompaniments. Easy to play constant backing. Last week, I listened to a singer played Kawai MP9500 while he sang. I felt MP9500 and CA93 has similar tendency of sound. And its sound supported the vocal very well.

Finally, what I wrote was just what I felt. I'm looking forward to other one's reviews. Many reviews will make the trustworthy statistics.
Posted by: mucci

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 10:10 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
So are you rating the Kawai ahead of the Yamaha on sound?


Yes, definitely for my specific taste. I like the smoothness and quite subtle and intimate sound of the CA-63, something I was missing with the CLPs I tested. The sound of CLP is sharp and clear, with lots of highs. You might get some fatigue of the sound over time.
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 10:40 PM

mezzo-poor,
Great review. Thanks for all the time and dedication! One question, if you were to get one of the 3, which one would you get?
Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/02/10 11:22 PM

Nguyen, it's a very difficult question.

case 1) Since I like its touch, I get a CA93 and use software pianos.
case 2) Since I like its resolution of sound, I get a HP307.
case 3) Since I like its bright sound, which is my type, I get a CLP380.

All cases are possible.
# However CLP380 is so expensive that the case 3 has less probability.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 03:12 AM

Thanks mezzo-poor. That was very helpful.
Let's hope we get some more reviews in to compare.
Posted by: madshi

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 03:58 AM

@mezzo-poor and kawaian, I know this is slightly OT, but since the next Yamaha Avant Grand might get the new Yamaha SCM sound technology, I was wondering whether you were able to test play a CP1? Also have you had a chance to test the Avant Grand? How would you rate these two (CP1 + AG) in comparison to the CA93/HP307/CLP380?

Thanks!
Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 06:00 AM

Madshi, I have tried AvantGrand N3 in an other store. I tested the same menu in my previous post.

The touch of N3 was exactly the touch of a grand piano. N3's sound was closer to a grand piano's than any of CA93/CLP380/HP307. However, I felt somehow not-interesting because it was just a closer COPY of an acoustic grand piano.
And
  • In N3, you can just adjust the touch and the reverb while you can tweak various parameters in CA93/CLP380/HP307.
  • N3 has just 5 instruments (Grand piano 1,2, E-piano 1,2 and Harpsichord).
  • N3's string resonance was a little insufficient compared to a C3 (acoustic grand) in the same store.

A Yamaha's staff secretly said "You can buy a silent grand with the price of N3". Of course a silent grand requires expensive maintenance but a silent grand + a software piano might be a better solution for me.

I haven't tried CP1 yet.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 06:11 AM

Originally Posted By: mezzo-poor
Madshi, I have tried AvantGrand N3 in an other store, I tested the same menu in my previous post.

The touch of N3 was exactly the touch of a grand piano's. N3's sound was closer to a grand piano's than any of CA93/CLP380/HP307. However, I felt somehow not-interesting because it was just a closer COPY of an acoustic grand piano.
And
  • In N3, you can just adjust the touch and the reverb while you can tweak various parameters in CA93/CLP380/HP307.
  • N3 has just 5 instruments (Grand piano 1,2, E-piano 1,2 and Harpsichord).
  • N3's string resonance was a little insufficient compared to a C3 (acoustic grand) in the same store.

A Yamaha's staff secretly said "You can buy a silent grand with the price of N3".
Of course a silent grand requires expensive maintenance but a silent grand + a software piano might be a better solution for me.

I haven't tried CP1 yet.


My preference would also be to buy a Yamaha C2 Silent above the Avant Grand (which is apparently where they got their idea for the instrument).

Beyond the real action, what most impresses one about the Avant Grand is the FORTE part of pianoFORTE, namely VOLUME, but the sound does not sound alive as it does from a real acoustic.
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 10:15 AM

Originally Posted By: mezzo-poor
case 1) Since I like its touch, I get a CA93 and use software pianos.
case 2) Since I like its resolution of sound, I get a HP307.
case 3) Since I like its bright sound, which is my type, I get a CLP380.

mezzo-poor thanks again. From a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the 3?

CA93 – Touch: Sound: Overall:

HP-207 – Touch: Sound: Overall:

CLP-380 – Touch: Sound: Overall:

If you need one for practice and leisure, all in one package, using its own built-in speakers and amplification, without software or additional gadgets, ignore its cost for now-meaning you can afford anyone one of them but not both or 3, which one would you get?

Again, I know it’s not an easy question, but that’s what I’m going to have to do in a few weeks when the HP-307 and CA93 are in stores here in the US. Based on your taste and preference, which of the 3 you would get and be happy to sacrifice what you’d miss from the other 2?
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 10:49 AM

Nguyen, I assume you meant CA93 above...
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 11:06 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
Nguyen, I assume you meant CA93 above...
Yes...! Thanks for pointing that out. smile Let me edit it.
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 11:29 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: mezzo-poor
Madshi, I have tried AvantGrand N3 in an other store, I tested the same menu in my previous post.

The touch of N3 was exactly the touch of a grand piano's. N3's sound was closer to a grand piano's than any of CA93/CLP380/HP307. However, I felt somehow not-interesting because it was just a closer COPY of an acoustic grand piano.
And
  • In N3, you can just adjust the touch and the reverb while you can tweak various parameters in CA93/CLP380/HP307.
  • N3 has just 5 instruments (Grand piano 1,2, E-piano 1,2 and Harpsichord).
  • N3's string resonance was a little insufficient compared to a C3 (acoustic grand) in the same store.

A Yamaha's staff secretly said "You can buy a silent grand with the price of N3".
Of course a silent grand requires expensive maintenance but a silent grand + a software piano might be a better solution for me.

I haven't tried CP1 yet.


My preference would also be to buy a Yamaha C2 Silent above the Avant Grand (which is apparently where they got their idea for the instrument).

Beyond the real action, what most impresses one about the Avant Grand is the FORTE part of pianoFORTE, namely VOLUME, but the sound does not sound alive as it does from a real acoustic.


On the topic of buying a Yamaha silent grand for the price of an N3, a C2S SMP in the Fine book is already $29K. Even a C1S is $26.4K SMP. So even if you take 30% off of the cheapest Yamaha silent grand C1S SMP, it'd still be $18.5K. This is compared to $11K for the N3 (30% off the Fine SMP of $15.7K). So based on the same calculations to arrive at street prices (30% less than Fine's SMP), the N3 costs only 60% of the C1S, 54% of the C2S, and 42% of the C3S.

So if the N3's sound is a little bit less resonance compared to the C3S, I'd still pick the N3 because it costs only 42% of the C3S. Not to mention it'll always be in perfect pitch and I'll never need to pay for twice a year tuning for the rest of its life.

As for the comment about the N3 not having the volume to sound alive like a real acoustic, if the N3 volume was not set at maximum when the comparison was done, it probably wouldn't be an apple to apple comparison. The real test is to find references of how it sounds in a large hall. See this thread where the post at the end by Frederrich may give another perspective from someone who's had a chance to perform it in a hall that seats 400 people.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 11:34 AM

The last thing my neighbors and family are looking for is an instrument that is designed to perform in a hall that seats 400 people -- whether it is acoustic or digital. I could just continue to play on the RX-2 night and day otherwise.

But I understand your point on pricing. The digital discounts in Europe appear to be less leaving the N3 and C2s closer.

I also believe that 20 years from now I could recover half the nominal price of the C2S but I am not so confident about the N3, especially since the sound generation technique used may already be obsolete on the market by next year.
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 11:54 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
I also believe that 20 years from now I could recover half the nominal price of the C2S but I am not so confident about the N3, especially since the sound generation technique used may already be obsolete on the market by next year.


I truly believe on the other hand that 20 years from now, even acoustic grands will be considered dinosaurs and they won't have the ability to hold their market value like they did in the last 100 years or so.

The only reason acoustic pianos have been able to hold their values up until now is because nobody so far has been able to come close to replicating the entire touch/feel/sound of the acoustic for less money. Well, not until now, finally, starting with the Avant-Grand. Sure, maybe the N3 is only 95% close enough, and maybe it's only half the cost of a comparable silent grand at this point. But from here on, any newer/better digital piano that will come even closer and for even less money will not only depreciate the N3, but will depreciate any other acoustics just the same. Nobody is going to want to buy the real thing anymore when the next best thing is >95% as good for less than half the price. I'm a living testament of this type of people with this reasoning. It's really a no-brainer to decide, actually.

And by the way, have you done the math? In the next 20 years, you'll be spending $6000 more in tuning ($150 a pop twice a year) on your acoustic. So let's say if you can sell your C1S for half what you paid for (around $9K from your purchase cost of $18K) 20 years later, don't forget to subtract $6K for your tuning cost, which will net you $3K after the tuning cost. So even if my N3 depreciates 73% after 20 years, compared to your C1S 50% depreciation, I still net $3K for my N3 just the same as your C1S, and I get perfect pitch the whole 20 years without having to put up with 40 tunings. And my total ownership cost after 20 years will be $11K-$3K= $8K, while your total ownership cost will be $18K+$6K-$9K= $15K (not counting any compound interest loss in the up front $7K higher purchase cost of $18K on the C1S over 20 years compared to my cost of $11K on the N3).

Maybe I won't even be able to get $3K for my N3 (let alone $9K for yours) 20 years from now because the latest digital piano will be only $3K and is ten times better and newer than ours. In this case, although we both can't even sell our pianos against a $3K brand new digital anymore, I will at least have enjoyed my N3 for $11K over 20 years, while you'll have enjoyed your C1S for $24K ($18K+$6K tuning).
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 12:54 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney

I also believe that 20 years from now I could recover half the nominal price of the C2S but I am not so confident about the N3, especially since the sound generation technique used may already be obsolete on the market by next year.


Don't even think about resale values. First off in 20 years even if you were to sell the piano for $20K you'd only be getting pocket change. $20K will be a down payment on a new car or a really nice racing bicycle in 2030. But you will not get 1/2 the new price for a 20 year old grand piano. The market is flooded with used pianos today and they are cranking out pianos in China now and all of these will hit the used market in 20 years. We will be chest deep in used pianos by 2030.

As for a 20 year old digital piano. I've not yet seen an example where one has sold for even $1,000. What will drive the AG price down is that in 5 or 10 years someone in China will make a piano that is even better and sell it new for $5K. Either that or Yamaha stops making parts and then one of the chips fails. An AG with a broken sound chip is nothing but non-repairable scrap.

You buy these things in both cases because you like them and can afford expensive toys. Either that or because they are tools of your trade an you need them to make a living. In that case feel lucky that your trade uses such cheap tools. A plumber would spend double that about to outfit his plumbing truck.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 02:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Volusiano

I truly believe on the other hand that 20 years from now, even acoustic grands will be considered dinosaurs and they won't have the ability to hold their market value like they did in the last 100 years or so.

The only reason acoustic pianos have been able to hold their values up until now is because nobody so far has been able to come close to replicating the entire touch/feel/sound of the acoustic for less money. Well, not until now, finally, starting with the Avant-Grand. Sure, maybe the N3 is only 95% close enough, and maybe it's only half the cost of a comparable silent grand at this point. But from here on, any newer/better digital piano that will come even closer and for even less money will not only depreciate the N3, but will depreciate any other acoustics just the same. Nobody is going to want to buy the real thing anymore when the next best thing is >95% as good for less than half the price. I'm a living testament of this type of people with this reasoning. It's really a no-brainer to decide, actually.

I don't agree. Certainly not within 20 years.
20 years is the blink of an eye for the piano and its precursors.

The reality of the simulation does not negate demand for the real thing:
Rubber dolls have unprecedented levels of realism, yet men still date, get married, pay for hookers and shell out for expensive drinks and dinner.
If flight simulator is so popular on the PC, why do people skill want to learn to fly in real airplanes?
One can listen to amazing recordings in the comfort of the home, yet people still want to experience live performances.
BTW: Ever try to play your N2/N3 with candles when the electricity is out (or no longer affordable after the energy crisis) or after an electrical short or electronic blip years after the thing is no longer in production? How many PCs are still working after 5 years? 10?


Originally Posted By: Volusiano

And by the way, have you done the math? In the next 20 years, you'll be spending $6000 more in tuning ($150 a pop twice a year) on your acoustic. So let's say if you can sell your C1S for half what you paid for (around $9K from your purchase cost of $18K) 20 years later, don't forget to subtract $6K for your tuning cost, which will net you $3K after the tuning cost. So even if my N3 depreciates 73% after 20 years, compared to your C1S 50% depreciation, I still net $3K for my N3 just the same as your C1S, and I get perfect pitch the whole 20 years without having to put up with 40 tunings. And my total ownership cost after 20 years will be $11K-$3K= $8K, while your total ownership cost will be $18K+$6K-$9K= $15K (not counting any compound interest loss in the up front $7K higher purchase cost of $18K on the C1S over 20 years compared to my cost of $11K on the N3).

Maybe I won't even be able to get $3K for my N3 (let alone $9K for yours) 20 years from now because the latest digital piano will be only $3K and is ten times better and newer than ours. In this case, although we both can't even sell our pianos against a $3K brand new digital anymore, I will at least have enjoyed my N3 for $11K over 20 years, while you'll have enjoyed your C1S for $24K ($18K+$6K tuning).


But on the other hand, you will have been activating statically, looped, extrapolated, manipulations of pre-recordings of someone else playing the piano all those years while the owner of an acoustic grand will have been enjoying total control over the tonal palette and making alive music with his own hands and feet.

One thing I will give you, the N2/N3 keyboard does smell like a real piano.
Posted by: snazzyplayer

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 02:36 PM

Some people are able to live with their acoustic piano slowly drifting out of tune with itself and other instruments.

Some of us cannot...so we buy a digital piano.

Doesn't matter what the acoustic piano costs, or what name brand it is...it goes out of tune, and those of us blessed (or cursed) with sensitive and accurate hearing don't need to put up with the drift in tuning, calling the tuner, waiting for the tuner, paying the tuner, and listening to the tuner chuckle as he leaves the house, knowing you are as dependant on him as a crack user is on his/her dealer.

The last thing on most people's minds when the power goes out is playing the piano....romantic as it sounds, I'm not sure it is an activity actually indulged in, as much as it is imagined by those needing another dubious reason to have an acoustic.

Snazzy


Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 03:22 PM

Both sides have good points but I can’t help thinking, are we going overboard defending our own opinions/agendas?

I mean so what if my HP-307/Avant N3 is worth nothing; or your Acoustic Grand serves as firewood in 20 years?

What matter is, as of today, we can justify owning an N3 or that Steinway Grand for our personal purposes. In 10 or 20 years, if they go out of style or become obsolete, we will certainly upgrade if we can afford.

Ever own a Mercedes or Camry hoping to resale at half its cost in 10 years? You’d be lucky if you can get half back in 5, regardless of inflation or deflation. Of course we still have to get one, some for necessity, others for pleasure. They cost a lot more than an Avant or Acoustic Grand, and wear out a lot faster too, but we don’t sit here debating whether their costs justified.

Digital or Acoustic, they are both good for different purposes/tastes and will eventually get old… outdated. We just have to get what we want/need can afford now and enjoy. If you think too far ahead, life would be really really boring.

I know I will enjoy my 4k DP when I get it in a few weeks/months.

Let’s get back to debating the playoff of the 3 mentioned flagships.

Cheers,
Nguyen
Posted by: snazzyplayer

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 03:36 PM

Well said Nguyen...I agree wholeheartedly.

Snazzy
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 03:58 PM

Yeah, after all, we are all in the market for a digital, including me!
And, I still think the N2 would be a valuable addition to the list. It even smells right.
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 05:02 PM

Agree that it's more productive to compare DPs vs DPs, especially in this forum and on this thread, as opposed to engage in the forever argument of DPs vs acoustics.
Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 08:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Nguyen

If you need one for practice and leisure, all in one package, using its own built-in speakers and amplification, without software or additional gadgets, ignore its cost for now-meaning you can afford anyone one of them but not both or 3, which one would you get?

Difficult question again. OK, Summarizing so many factors into just 9 scores, I would give:

CA93 touch(8) sound(5) overall(5)
HP307 touch(7) sound(8) overall(7)
CLP380 touch(6) sound(7) overall(6)

where (10) is the best and (1) is the worst. In your setting, I can't add anything to improve properties which I don't like, I would take maximin(maximize the minimum gain) strategy so the overall scores equal to min(touch, sound) for each model.
Then I will get a HP307.

You wrote "using its own built-in speakers" in the setting. But due to noisy environment, I mainly used my headphones in the test. I played just 8 bars or so with built-in speakers for each model. However I didn't feel CA93's speakers were far better than other two's. Actually, I felt Roland LX10 in the same store had better speakers than CA93 had.
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/03/10 09:35 PM

mezzo-poor, well done. We appreciate all the hardwork. Many thanks!
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/04/10 03:47 AM

Thanks mezzo-poor. I hope to find a shop with the Kawai within driving distance so I can add my results as well. Interesting to see that you take the "weakest link in the chain" approach to your overall scores (lowest rating on touch or sound determines overall). I realize that you were answering a question directly, but for you personally, will there be no other factors that you feel will be relevant to your decision (e.g. connectivity, recording capabilities and playback, etc.) If any, could you share your findings with us?

Finally, we both have Kawai instruments now and are looking at a second, digital instrument, presumably to be used primarily for silent practice.

If one is interested in the best touch or most similar touch to your acoustic and still wants to enjoy better sound, shopping for a good deal on the CA63 and seeing how seamless a connection with say, your PC running Pianoteq, would be, might be a reasonable approach. Assuming one already has the PC setup, it might result in a savings of 900 euros over the HP307. For me, it would not work so well due to my living situation, but for others this might be a good approach. Who knows, Kawai might also issue a sound upgrade similar to what Roland is doing today with their SuperRealistic upgrades to the RD700GX.


Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/04/10 06:07 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
will there be no other factors that you feel will be relevant to your decision (e.g. connectivity, recording capabilities and playback, etc.)

It might be included "3. Stability and strength" as you wrote, I think "long-term reliability" is an important factor, but no one can review it for a new model. confused
And
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Kawai might also issue a sound upgrade similar to what Roland is doing today with their SuperRealistic upgrades to the RD700GX.

this updatability will be an important factor for DPs in the next generation (CA95,CLP480,HP407?).
Posted by: mucci

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/04/10 06:53 AM

I bought a CA-63 mostly because of the key action.

My overall rating is different than mezzo-poors, but I have a different weighing:

My priorities:
60% Key Action
30% Onboard Sound Quality
10% Other features (with some must-haves: e.g. MIDI-Capability)

The most important is the key action since I don't want to upgrade my DP every 2-3 years: For now I'm happy with the sound quality of the CA-63, but in future I might want to play through an external software solution. My current software-solution for the masterkeyboard is TruePianos, really good, but CA-63 piano sound is definitely better.

So, actually, I would in almost all circumstances choose the DP with the best key action, and don't need no external speaker gimmicks like in the CA-93, so this time it was an easy decision.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/04/10 07:19 AM

Originally Posted By: kawaian
I bought a CA-63 mostly because of the key action.

My overall rating is different than mezzo-poors, but I have a different weighing:

My priorities:
60% Key Action
30% Onboard Sound Quality
10% Other features (with some must-haves: e.g. MIDI-Capability)

The most important is the key action since I don't want to upgrade my DP every 2-3 years: For now I'm happy with the sound quality of the CA-63, but in future I might want to play through an external software solution. My current software-solution for the masterkeyboard is TruePianos, really good, but CA-63 piano sound is definitely better.

So, actually, I would in almost all circumstances choose the DP with the best key action, and don't need no external speaker gimmicks like in the CA-93, so this time it was an easy decision.


I tend to agree you with on weighting the key action heavier in the evaluation.

I am also interested if we know how both the CLP-380 and the HP-307 stack up on your critique from another thread:

Originally Posted By: kawaian
Just some impressions from my recent experience with CA-63:
...I went to the dealer and played CA-63 for as long as 2 hours. Result: Absolutely amazing! Significantly better than the CA-51/CA-71: The keyboard feels a little bit stronger (which is better in my taste since I also like the strong keyboard of the CLPs). The keyboard also has the new Ivory-feel which is also a big improvement in my opinion. The touch is really great, it's faster than the touch of teh CA-51 (which was also good, but a little wobbly), repetition is easier. In general a significant improvement.
...
On the downside: There were some limitations with the resonance effects with the former CA-Series, these are still not solved:

1) Press a key very loudly with sustain-pedal down, then press the same key very soft and then release the sustain pedal --> Only the second, very quiet sound will be played! That's definitely not the behavior of a real piano.

2) Also the String-resonance is not absolutely perfect: It only works if you don't press the sustain pedal. So after playing notes holding down the sustain pedal, and then releasing the sustain pedal with holding down a key that was not actively played but should have some string resonance, there is no string resonance.

That's a pity: What's so difficult to solve these limitations / defects? But I think these are only very subtle effects which are not really noticeable during "normal" play, so for me it's a minor issue.

But to come to an end: I didn'T hesitate and immediately ordered one CA-63! Next week it will be delivered! I'm desperately looking forward having it at home!
Posted by: madshi

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/05/10 10:04 AM

Originally Posted By: mezzo-poor
Madshi, I have tried AvantGrand N3 in an other store. I tested the same menu in my previous post.

The touch of N3 was exactly the touch of a grand piano. N3's sound was closer to a grand piano's than any of CA93/CLP380/HP307. However, I felt somehow not-interesting because it was just a closer COPY of an acoustic grand piano.
And
  • In N3, you can just adjust the touch and the reverb while you can tweak various parameters in CA93/CLP380/HP307.
  • N3 has just 5 instruments (Grand piano 1,2, E-piano 1,2 and Harpsichord).
  • N3's string resonance was a little insufficient compared to a C3 (acoustic grand) in the same store.

A Yamaha's staff secretly said "You can buy a silent grand with the price of N3". Of course a silent grand requires expensive maintenance but a silent grand + a software piano might be a better solution for me.

I haven't tried CP1 yet.

Thank you!

If you do try out the CP1, please let us know your impressions, that'd be nice!
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/09/10 12:35 PM

The HP-307 has finally arrived in our US Dealers. I'd like to revive this thread hoping there will be more testing reviews.

Thanks,
Nguyen
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/09/10 01:53 PM

I notice somebody on this forum complains about a cracking noise problem when the damper effect is used on the Kawai CA-63 on that thread. So I just thought I'd pass it along here in case people interested haven't come across that thread, and whether the same issue exists in the Kawai CA-93 or not. The owner of the CA-63 said he tried both his and the store's demo and the problem exhibits on both units.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/09/10 02:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Nguyen
The HP-307 has finally arrived in our US Dealers. I'd like to revive this thread hoping there will be more testing reviews.

Thanks,
Nguyen


We are still waiting to see the Kawai units appear to be able to compare.
Posted by: Andree

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/10/10 09:54 AM

I'm very disappointed with the sound in the new Kawai CA series. As you already have stated, the keyboard is good but I can't understand why you say that the piano sound is good as well. In my opinion this is very bad compared with todays' technology, listen to the midrange, you have no expressiveness in this part.

Take a look on this thread http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...A63.html#UNREAD
Posted by: mucci

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/10/10 10:58 AM

@Andree, to whom are you referring?

The sound is in fact a matter of taste. I personally find it very convincing and realistic, also in the midrange, but definitely different than Yamaha and Roland.

But the technical flaws are indeed not acceptable.
Posted by: Andree

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/10/10 11:05 AM

@kawaian, I know that this is a highly personal matter and therefore I began to say "I'm very disappointed", in my statement. When we are talking about the midrange, the feeling I got was that I played on a guitar, not a piano. I think this explains the issue in a fairly proper way...
Posted by: Bill Logan

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/10/10 01:44 PM

I just purchased a new Casio Celvaniano AP-620 that just came out in January. Shouldn't this be one of the digital pianos to be considered in the comparison?
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/10/10 02:21 PM

Perhaps. Can you tell us more about your shopping experience?
Did you compare it and audition directly against the other mentioned makes and models?
How did it stack up and what made you decide on the Casio?
Posted by: Bill Logan

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/10/10 10:45 PM

Hi Journey,
No comparisons were made. I am the owner of two Yamaha keyboards. As an internediate pinaist, I wanted to upgrade to something better. I wanted something with weighted keys and good sound. Casio Celviano AP-620 is the latest model. My new AP-620 should be shipped to me at the end of the month. It just came out in January and is now hitting the retail stores. At a cost of $1,400 and listening to the sound quality that vastly surpassed my existing Yamaha YPG 535, I thought perhaps it should have been included in the comparison. Keep in mind that I am new to DPs and perhaps the AP-620 may not be in the same league as the others quoted.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/11/10 02:18 AM

I am not personally familiar with the Casios as they are not sold much here. I definitely live in Yamaha territory with some Roland thrown in. Even Kawai is very difficult to find. Your link sounds promising and the price is certainly right. Please keep us posted with your experiences. If they are as positive as almost all the other reviews of Casio we tend to read here you may have found the model that will give everyone else a run for their money. Enjoy your playing!
Posted by: Bill Logan

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/11/10 08:09 AM

Thanks Journey,
I've only started taking piano lessons now for the past 19 months. Now that I am retired, I can practice 2-3 hours per day. I am new to the group and wasn't sure if I would be criticized for suggesting a Casio in your comparisons. I anxiously await the arrival of my Casio AP620 DP and will certainly keep the group informed about it's features and quality. Thanks again.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/15/10 02:38 AM

Originally Posted By: kawaian
@Andree, to whom are you referring?

The sound is in fact a matter of taste. I personally find it very convincing and realistic, also in the midrange, but definitely different than Yamaha and Roland.

But the technical flaws are indeed not acceptable.


For me this is a critical point that would be helpful to get our arms around.

For me at least, and I believe for a number of others as well, the digital piano is used as a silent practice instrument and for the earlier, pre-polish phases of learning and studying clasical literature. The idea is to perform on an acoustic but to have the most flexible, realistic and productive study environment on the digital. The playing experience on the digital should be more " realistic " or " authentic " rather than " pretty ".

My impression of some digital pianos is that they make you sound like a better player than you really are by smoothing things out instead of letting your uneven playing sound the way it will sound on an acoustic: uneven.

Can anyone comment on which of the remotely affordable contenders (CA93, HP307, CLP380) they find most authentic and not too unrealistically kind for studying classical music?
Posted by: jbx

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/20/10 07:46 PM

I am new to this forum, but today I tried the Kawai CA63 and Roland HP-307. Some time ago, I also tried the Yamaha CLP-380, but had no time today to try it. At that time I already found out I liked the Roland better than the Kawai, so I did not try it again today. Unfortunately, I did not find a store yet (close enough to me) that had the CA93, but since the only real difference between the CA63 and CA93 is the speaker system and let-off simulation, I think my comparison of the CA63 and HP-307 is relevant for this topic. I looked especially at the action, and a bit at the sound, mostly with headphones (that is why I think it is acceptable that I compare the CA63 instead of the CA93). Here I put some of my findings/thoughts/opinions, hopefully useful to somebody.

Action:
  • Dynamic range: by this I do not mean the dynamic range of the output sound, because I suppose that can be controlled by a parameter in the software, but I am talking about the range of the physical velocity of the hammers that can be detected by the sensors. Velocities that are in reality higher, are all reported as the maximum velocity. One of the bigger problems of a DP in my opinion is that the maximum velocity is reached pretty easy by most DPs. For an acoustic piano, there is no such limit (until something breaks of course). I would like to measure this (I am a physicist), but was only able to compare qualitatively. My impression is that the Roland is the best one in this aspect: on the Roland, you need most physical force to reach the maximum velocity. I think this is good because it leaves more room for expressiveness.
  • Velocity control: I do not know how to call this, but I mention this, because I was a bit disappointed in the Kawai on this aspect. I found it harder to control the velocity with the Kawai. Some notes sounded louder than I intended, others too soft. Especially, the middle range in velocities was hard to control in my opinion. I tried all standard touch levels from light to heavy and also tried to use a custom curve, but I was not satisfied. Maybe after some more trials with custom curves this could be improved. I do not know if this is a hardware or software problem with the Kawai, or maybe it is a problem with me... or I should get used to it better. However, I do not have this problem with most acoustic piano's I think.
  • Touch: the new Kawai has the heaviest touch, also clearly heavier then the previous series of Kawai. I like this, but maybe this is because I am used to an acoustic with heavy touch. The Roland and Kawai do not differ much, I think the Roland is a bit heavier.
  • Key weight: I feel that something is not realistic about the key weight of the Roland and Yamaha's, but is realistic in the Kawai. I think it is the actual weight of the keys themselves (not the hammers). I noticed it most clearly by lightly 'tapping' the keys, with loose fingers. When a loose finger hits the key, the energy is transferred to the hammer, and the finger is almost stopped because of the collision with the key. At the moment the hammer is set in (fast) motion and the finger falls more slowly on the key, it is very noticeable in my opinion that the key itself is very light (Roland and Yamaha). It feels a bit bouncy and plasticy in this situation. The Kawai is superior in this aspect: I think the keys themselves are much heavier, which feels much more realistic. However, in normal play (except maybe for staccato) I did not notice this problem much when playing the Roland and Yamaha. I think because of the proper weight of the hammers, the keys appear to have a proper weight.
Summarizing: the Kawai feels more realistic and has a heavier touch (which I liked). The Roland has a better dynamic range and the velocities are easier to control.

Sound:
I think the Roland is clearly superior here. In my opinion the sound is more realistic and sounds more alive, although I cannot tell exactly why. One thing I noticed is that in the Roland sound you hear more realistic beats when multiple notes are hold for a longer time.

Difference HP-307 and HP-305: slightly offtopic, but something I took a few minutes for and might interest some people: in my opinion the action of the PHAIII is only slightly better than the PHAII. I expected the difference to be bigger. The quality of the speaker system however was bigger than I expected. The speaker system of the HP-305 produced uneven results (some ranges too loud or sounding different), probably because of unwanted resonant frequencies.

This morning I was pretty sure I would not be able to make a decision (again) and would lean towards the Kawai. But, to my surprise, I was able to make a clear decision for myself: I take the HP-307! The reason is that I liked the sound much better, and the keyboard gave me a feeling of better control (easier to control the velocities). Also, but less important to me, it has more options to fine tune the sound and better and more sounds. The only downside of the Roland in comparison to the Kawai is the slightly less realistic action, but the action of the Roland is satisfactory for me. However, if you are only interested in the most realistic action, then my advice is to go for the Kawai, and maybe use a software piano to be able to adjust the touch curve better and have better sounds.

Edit: about the Yamaha: I think it is not a fair competition, because it is from one generation earlier. I am curious about what their next generation will bring...
Posted by: Nguyen

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/20/10 10:39 PM

jbx, welcome to PW and congratulations on your HP-307! Please don’t forget to update the “Prices Paid” thread

Thanks for such a detail analysis. It helps DP shoppers like me tremendously. I am also leaning toward the HP-307 but I have to try it again side by side with the CLP-380 to make that final decision, hopefully in the next few weeks.
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/20/10 11:43 PM

Quote:
Summarizing: the Kawai feels more realistic and has a heavier touch (which I liked). The Roland has a better dynamic range


I'm more of a beginner. I think I agree with the above. That is the first thing I noticed about the Roland, the dynamic range of the key action. You have said a few things I had not been able to describe.

Here is a question for a physicist: Do you think a keyboard action could be described by a small set of parameters?

An example of what I'm thinking of is what Thiele/Small did for loudspeakers. No, I don't mean that any of their work would apply. But only that prior to their work people described loudspeakers with long paragraphs and ad-hoc measurements then T/S showed that only a few numbers were required to describe the speakers. Perhaps only a few numbers describing inertia and friction would be enough. If I'm right, it would revolutionize keyboard and piano reviews
Posted by: dewster

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/20/10 11:56 PM

Thanks very much for your review, jbx. The HP-307 really shines in the DPBSD test, and I'm very anxious to try one.

I want that sound in a $2k stage piano or $1k 1/3 rackmount form - which of course doesn't exist yet. A boy can dream though.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/21/10 02:05 AM

Hello jbx, many thanks for your thoughtful review - you have made some excellent points.

Welcome to the forum, and of course, congratulations on the purchase of your new DP!

Cheers,
James
x
Posted by: mezzo-poor

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/21/10 05:32 AM

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Here is a question for a physicist: Do you think a keyboard action could be described by a small set of parameters?

An example of what I'm thinking of is what Thiele/Small did for loudspeakers. No, I don't mean that any of their work would apply. But only that prior to their work people described loudspeakers with long paragraphs and ad-hoc measurements then T/S showed that only a few numbers were required to describe the speakers. Perhaps only a few numbers describing inertia and friction would be enough. If I'm right, it would revolutionize keyboard and piano reviews

I sometimes consider this question and I basically agree with ChrisA. However in loudspeakers, the parts move together(e.g. a coil and a diaphragm) while in piano actions, the parts move differently(e.g. a key and a hammer).

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

This complex combination of parts makes things difficult for describing piano actions. A precise model of a piano action requires not only each part's weight and moment of inertia, but also interaction between parts(e.g. when the jack is released from pressing the hammer).

However when I get a loudspeaker, I don't usually check the detailed parameters. I just check f0 and wattage. I think it is useful to give just a few parameters which roughly describe the piano actions. I would like to propose two parameters to manufactures, static pressure and dynamic pressure. (to (might) be continued to a new thread)
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/21/10 07:05 AM

Originally Posted By: mezzo-poor
I would like to propose two parameters to manufactures, static pressure and dynamic pressure.

Now things are starting to get interesting. wink

Cheers,
James
x
Posted by: jbx

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/21/10 04:15 PM

I agree with mezzo-poor.
I think indeed static and dynamic pressure are the two most important parameters. But indeed, the real action is much more complicated. I think that the force is also a (probably non-linear) function of the distance a key is pressed down and maybe also of the force that is applied.
But, as said, just static and dynamic pressure is a very good way to describe the basic behavior of the action.
Posted by: zaba19

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/21/10 06:29 PM

Originally Posted By: jbx

Difference HP-307 and HP-305: slightly offtopic, but something I took a few minutes for and might interest some people: in my opinion the action of the PHAIII is only slightly better than the PHAII. I expected the difference to be bigger. The quality of the speaker system however was bigger than I expected. The speaker system of the HP-305 produced uneven results (some ranges too loud or sounding different), probably because of unwanted resonant frequencies.

When I was buying my piano, I tried both HP-305 and HP-307 too to find if the price difference is worth it. Putting aside HP-305's ridiculously small display (for gods sake small lcd's are cheap and the piano certainly isn't cheap) which is a joke in 2010 I have to tell that it didn't take a long time to say I liked HP-307 more. I heard they have the same sound generator and very similar keyboard but when playing I somehow felt and heard the difference. I can't describe exactly what differs PHAII from PHAIII. I would say that the experience was just like trying out 2 acoustic pianos of the same brand. You pick the one that feels better for you. It was the same - I just liked PHAIII more and that's it. It was more natural for me, I played more comfortably with it, it spoke to me "take me" wink
If someone else played 305 and 307 and wouldn't be able to tell difference between those actions I wouldn't be surprised tho. Then the price difference would certainly not be worth the extra speaker power and display imo.

PS. I was testing them with headphones so can't comment on the uneveness of 305's speaker system.
Posted by: toyboy

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/22/10 10:25 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney


The reality of the simulation does not negate demand for the real thing:
Rubber dolls have unprecedented levels of realism, yet men still date, get married, pay for hookers and shell out for expensive drinks and dinner.
If flight simulator is so popular on the PC, why do people skill want to learn to fly in real airplanes?
One can listen to amazing recordings in the comfort of the home, yet people still want to experience live performances


I started a similar debate on acoustic vs digital a few months ago, and I have to say that this has to be one of the better metaphors arguing for acoustical instruments that I've seen. Couldn't have done it better myself. Thank you.
Posted by: toyboy

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/22/10 10:37 PM

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer

Doesn't matter what the acoustic piano costs, or what name brand it is...it goes out of tune, and those of us blessed (or cursed) with sensitive and accurate hearing don't need to put up with the drift in tuning, calling the tuner, waiting for the tuner, paying the tuner, and listening to the tuner chuckle as he leaves the house, knowing you are as dependant on him as a crack user is on his/her dealer.


Two points please. Those of us blessed (or cursed) with sensitive and accurate hearing can't deal with a digital reproduction of acoustic sound no matter how "accurate" it is because focussing on accuracy misses part of what making music is about: human beings sitting at human made things that are based on natural things such as air, vibrations, etc.

A few months ago a friend, who is relatively unsophisticated in all things music, but very sensitive and open-minded, came to visit and I played some music for her on my grand piano. She was awestruck at the sound and particularly by how long the sound could sustain itself. That is to say she was struck by the magic of the origin of the sound coming out of all that wood and metal strings.

I am awestruck by it everyday and I both count my blessings that I'm able to while at the same time do try and keep in perspective the priviledge of it all. But it is that perspective that makes me want to somehow try and share that magic rather than capitulate in, shall we say, pragmatic music making.

Finally, your attitude to piano tuners is terribly cynical. I find the relationship with my tuner(s) very rewarding in their helping me understand not just how my piano works, but the array of choices I can have in how we might voice the piano to suit my desires. In the digital world all you have is a manual.

This debate will be endless because everyone comes to it based on their own personal experience, needs and situation.
Posted by: dewster

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/22/10 11:40 PM

Originally Posted By: zaba19
Putting aside HP-305's ridiculously small display (for gods sake small lcd's are cheap and the piano certainly isn't cheap) which is a joke in 2010 I have to tell that it didn't take a long time to say I liked HP-307 more.

Ha! I don't get this either. I keep seeing cheap $0.50 displays on $1.5k keyboards and it makes me scratch my head. It's like they're daring me to buy it and feel like an idiot.
Posted by: snazzyplayer

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/23/10 02:28 AM

Originally Posted By: toyboy


Finally, your attitude to piano tuners is terribly cynical.


Those of us blessed (or cursed) with the skill of precise perception are usually regarded as being "cynical" by those who haven't acquired it yet.

And yes, this debate will always be endless, much like the old chestnut, "Mac vs. PC" (PC is better wink ).

Snazzy
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/23/10 04:03 AM

Originally Posted By: toyboy
Finally, your attitude to piano tuners is terribly cynical.

I, for one, particularly love Snazzy's metaphor of acoustic owners depending on tuners like crack addicts depending on their dealers. grin I'm sure Snazzy means no disrespect toward tuners here. They do honest work for honest pay. The cynical attitude is with the high maintenance aspects of the AP (tuning, voicing, humidity control). It's not with the tuners.

Originally Posted By: toyboy
I find the relationship with my tuner(s) very rewarding in their helping me understand not just how my piano works, but the array of choices I can have in how we might voice the piano to suit my desires. In the digital world all you have is a manual.

I'll take just a lousy manual for a DP any day over a relationship with a tuner. At least I don't have to pay my manual $300/year on maintenance, and still wondering how long that tuning is going to hold before I need another one. And I don't care to develop a relationship with anyone. Just give me a super low maintenance product that performs spot on, always in tune, reliably day-in day-out, in any kind of climate, and throw me a lousy manual, and you'll never hear from me again. Boy, I love that lousy manual and my low-maintenance DP.
Posted by: edt

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/24/10 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: theJourney

Rubber dolls have unprecedented levels of realism, yet men still date, get married, pay for hookers and shell out for expensive drinks and dinner.


true.

I think the only thing I have really learned from reading pianoworld forums is that . . . when Henry Ford first came out with the Model T, I'm sure there were people that didnt care about the top speed or miles per gallon, but instead they would incessantly complain about how it wasn't like a horse. For instance, I believe there must have been people complaining about that new car smell. Why doesn't it smell like old horse?
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 03:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Originally Posted By: toyboy
Finally, your attitude to piano tuners is terribly cynical.

I, for one, particularly love Snazzy's metaphor of acoustic owners depending on tuners like crack addicts depending on their dealers. grin I'm sure Snazzy means no disrespect toward tuners here. They do honest work for honest pay. The cynical attitude is with the high maintenance aspects of the AP (tuning, voicing, humidity control). It's not with the tuners.

Originally Posted By: toyboy
I find the relationship with my tuner(s) very rewarding in their helping me understand not just how my piano works, but the array of choices I can have in how we might voice the piano to suit my desires. In the digital world all you have is a manual.

I'll take just a lousy manual for a DP any day over a relationship with a tuner. At least I don't have to pay my manual $300/year on maintenance, and still wondering how long that tuning is going to hold before I need another one. And I don't care to develop a relationship with anyone. Just give me a super low maintenance product that performs spot on, always in tune, reliably day-in day-out, in any kind of climate, and throw me a lousy manual, and you'll never hear from me again. Boy, I love that lousy manual and my low-maintenance DP.


The issue is to a large degree cultural as well.

It is a quintessentially North American tendency to prefer convenient, cheap, efficient, "close enough for me" copies requiring low commitment and low investment over the authenticity and genuineness of the real article, with all its quirks and total experience of purchase implications.

That explains why North Americans eat more than half their meals outside of the home, primarily in "restaurants" manufacturing "meals" at such efficient manufacturer outlets as McDonalds and Applebees rather than cooking the evening meal from scratch with healthy ingredients at home with the family.

That is why supermarkets are filled with brightly colored packages of "just add water" copies of real food dressed up with lots of chemicals, salt and high fructose corn syrup.

That explains the popularity of plastic laminate flooring instead of laying unsealed hardwood floors that must be waxed and buffed on a regular basis and which age gracefully and with character over the decades.

That is why people buy pre-manufactured homes or Vytek insulated cardboard/wood boxes with low maintenance plastic siding that barely last as long as their mortgages rather than building brick or stone homes meant to stand for centuries.

That is why people increasingly "don't want to build a relationship with anyone" and see themselves primarily as consumers and other people as objects whose only value is whether or not they can satisfy the lusts, wants or needs of the consumer, cocooning at home alone passively consuming 5 hours of television on average per day from their alimony-purchased plasma TV rather than having meaningful social contacts or being a member of their community.

That also explains the relative popularity in Europe of the acoustic uprights with factory installed silent systems: People want their children to learn to play the real thing but recognize that in this day and age of decreased tolerance between neighbors that it is necessary to be able to practice silently. However, the desire is to do so on the most authentic possible keybed with maximum transfer of skill to real acoustic piano playing. Someone with 15 years of classical training on an acoustic can make the transition to digital quite easily. Spending 15 years playing unweighted keyboards and then expecting to play well on an acoustic demonstrates quite clearly what the real differences are between the two instruments.
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 04:19 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Originally Posted By: toyboy
Finally, your attitude to piano tuners is terribly cynical.

I, for one, particularly love Snazzy's metaphor of acoustic owners depending on tuners like crack addicts depending on their dealers. grin I'm sure Snazzy means no disrespect toward tuners here. They do honest work for honest pay. The cynical attitude is with the high maintenance aspects of the AP (tuning, voicing, humidity control). It's not with the tuners.

Originally Posted By: toyboy
I find the relationship with my tuner(s) very rewarding in their helping me understand not just how my piano works, but the array of choices I can have in how we might voice the piano to suit my desires. In the digital world all you have is a manual.

I'll take just a lousy manual for a DP any day over a relationship with a tuner. At least I don't have to pay my manual $300/year on maintenance, and still wondering how long that tuning is going to hold before I need another one. And I don't care to develop a relationship with anyone. Just give me a super low maintenance product that performs spot on, always in tune, reliably day-in day-out, in any kind of climate, and throw me a lousy manual, and you'll never hear from me again. Boy, I love that lousy manual and my low-maintenance DP.


The issue is to a large degree cultural as well.

It is a quintessentially North American tendency to prefer convenient, cheap, efficient, "close enough for me" copies requiring low commitment and low investment over the authenticity and genuineness of the real article, with all its quirks and total experience of purchase implications.

That explains why North Americans eat more than half their meals outside of the home, primarily in "restaurants" manufacturing "meals" at such efficient manufacturer outlets as McDonalds and Applebees rather than cooking the evening meal from scratch with healthy ingredients at home with the family.

That is why supermarkets are filled with brightly colored packages of "just add water" copies of real food dressed up with lots of chemicals, salt and high fructose corn syrup.

That explains the popularity of plastic laminate flooring instead of laying unsealed hardwood floors that must be waxed and buffed on a regular basis and which age gracefully and with character over the decades.

That is why people buy pre-manufactured homes or Vytek insulated cardboard/wood boxes with low maintenance plastic siding that barely last as long as their mortgages rather than building brick or stone homes meant to stand for centuries.

That is why people increasingly "don't want to build a relationship with anyone" and see themselves primarily as consumers and other people as objects whose only value is whether or not they can satisfy the lusts, wants or needs of the consumer, cocooning at home alone passively consuming 5 hours of television on average per day from their alimony-purchased plasma TV rather than having meaningful social contacts or being a member of their community.

That also explains the relative popularity in Europe of the acoustic uprights with factory installed silent systems: People want their children to learn to play the real thing but recognize that in this day and age of decreased tolerance between neighbors that it is necessary to be able to practice silently. However, the desire is to do so on the most authentic possible keybed with maximum transfer of skill to real acoustic piano playing. Someone with 15 years of classical training on an acoustic can make the transition to digital quite easily. Spending 15 years playing unweighted keyboards and then expecting to play well on an acoustic demonstrates quite clearly what the real differences are between the two instruments.


Oh ho ho! Wow! I'm speechless. How did a DP vs AP post turn into such prejudiced anti-American hatred like this??? And such holier-than-thou attitude, no less. Is it because you can't argue on-point to the topic at hand anymore, so you must bring in ugly baggage like this into the discussion?

I won't lower myself to argue any of your points that's non-piano related. As for your point about the popularity of silent acoustic upright in Europe, that's all good for those who chose to go with this option. But personally, I don't believe the action of acoustic upright is all that in the first place. And who says people who don't choose the silent acoustic upright only use unweighted DP action? Many modern DPs today offer very good weighted actions that are not necessarily inferior to the acoustic upright action at all. The acoustic upright action is not the standard a weighted DP should strive to emulate. Only the full acoustic grand action should be the standard to strive for. So someone with a nicely weighted action DP should have no more problem transitioning to a real grand action compared to someone with an acoustic upright action.

The popularity of upright in Europe are probably mostly due to space constraint and price constraint. Not because of their keyboard action are so hot. And who's to say that DPs don't sell as well as acoustic uprights in Europe? Do you have any data to back this up? If I have to make an educated guess, I'd venture to say that DPs sell more than acoustic uprights anywhere in the world, including Europe and Asia, bar none.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 05:09 AM

Originally Posted By: Volusiano

Oh ho ho! Wow! I'm speechless. How did a DP vs AP post turn into such prejudiced anti-American hatred like this??? And such holier-than-thou attitude, no less. Is it because you can't argue on-point to the topic at hand anymore, so you must bring in ugly baggage like this into the discussion?

I won't lower myself to argue any of your points that's non-piano related. As for your point about the popularity of silent acoustic upright in Europe, that's all good for those who chose to go with this option. But personally, I don't believe the action of acoustic upright is all that in the first place. And who says people who don't choose the silent acoustic upright only use unweighted DP action? Many modern DPs today offer very good weighted actions that are not necessarily inferior to the acoustic upright action at all. The acoustic upright action is not the standard a weighted DP should strive to emulate. Only the full acoustic grand action should be the standard to strive for. So someone with a nicely weighted action DP should have no more problem transitioning to a real grand action compared to someone with an acoustic upright action.

The popularity of upright in Europe are probably mostly due to space constraint and price constraint. Not because of their keyboard action are so hot. And who's to say that DPs don't sell as well as acoustic uprights in Europe? Do you have any data to back this up? If I have to make an educated guess, I'd venture to say that DPs sell more than acoustic uprights anywhere in the world, including Europe and Asia, bar none.


Interesting that you find the comments anti-American. The statistics on percentages of meals out of home, makeup of the restaurant industry, supermarket and FMCG packaged goods content, percentage of meals eaten as a family, relative floor covering popularity, home building materials and methods, relative life spans of wooden houses to mortgages, television viewing hours, high divorce rates and the demise of community activities and joining of service associations, etc. are all factual. The comment about not valuing personal relationships was a direct quote from you. All provide a direct insight into key cultural aspects that, whether or not one is self-aware of them or not, can influence the degree to which people value traditional products and practices over modern ones.

They are not necessarily right or wrong but simply statements of fact that illustrate key cultural choices within North America.

If you read my post rather than putting words in my mouth you will also see that I do not claim that digital pianos are not sold as well in Europe. I made the simple factual claim that that hybrid acoustic pianos with factory installed silent (e.g. a Yamaha U3 Silent), which are first and foremost an acoustic piano and secondarily a digital piano, are sold relatively more in Europe than in the US. This is a fact. Those buying them state as rationale that they want an acoustic instrument that can be played on an exception basis also as a silent instrument.

Simply because you dispute the facts does not make a post "anti-American".

There is more to playing a real piano than having a very realistic feeling action. To date no sampling or modeling or sound reproduction approach can duplicate a real acoustic piano. This is also a fact.
Posted by: mucci

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 05:36 AM

While I do not share the biased expression of what theJourney says, many of the examples tend to be going in the right direction.

If you have some time reading: Here's a very interesting comparison of USA and Germany (well, that's more specific than Europe, but you get an idea) where some of these statements can also be found. But it's much more complex, and either way of living has it's advantages and drawbacks:

http://math-www.uni-paderborn.de/~axel/us-d.html

Especially the chapter "Technology" is interesting, and I who know both countries very well agree on most of the points made.

On one side it says:
"It is well known that the US is the most heavily technologized society; if you count TVs, phones, microwave ovens, cars or personal computers per person, you'll find that the numbers are far higher than in Germany, or most every other country for that matter. Clearly, they are also world leaders in many technologies, such as military applications, space exploration, biotech, software and computer chips."

On the other side:
"This is not the full story however. I am constantly amazed by the poor quality and backwardedness of many technologies routinely employed in the US. Sometimes I think that while Germans tend to tolerate outrageous prices without complaint, Americans tolerate substandard quality. Here are some examples, I keep discovering more every day:"...

But enough OT...
Posted by: sullivang

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 06:00 AM

Originally Posted By: ChrisA

Here is a question for a physicist: Do you think a keyboard action could be described by a small set of parameters?


FWIW, here's some info on the piano action: http://www.ofai.at/cgi-bin/get-tr?paper=oefai-tr-2005-01.pdf but I don't think it answers your question. (stumbled on this when searching for repetition rate specifications)

Greg.
Posted by: Volusiano

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 07:26 AM

Originally Posted By: theJourney
The comment about not valuing personal relationships was a direct quote from you.

Anyone with half a brain reading my post would understand that I meant I don't care to develop a relationship with a tuner (when I said "anyone") within that context of such a business transaction. Only someone with ill intents would want to twist my words and turn it into "Americans are not valuing personal relationships".

Originally Posted By: theJourney
Simply because you dispute the facts does not make a post "anti-American".

Like I said, I'm not interested in lowering myself to debate with you your points about what's fact and what's fiction on non-piano related matters. So I'm not even disputing or confirming or agreeing with any of those non-piano things you said. It's all irrelevant whether any of those things are facts or lies or whatnots. What's relevant is the way they were put together and the connotation that they implied. You can hide behind all your "facts" for all I care, but I can sure tell an anti-American post when I see one, because it looks like it, sounds like it, and smells like it.
Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 08:00 AM

Again, don't put words in my mouth. I specifically attributed the quote to you, personally. I did not say that all Americans are not valuing personal relationships, although it is true that social bonds are decreasing at a rapid rate, which often results in people preferring, as you have stated, to go the "no relationship" route. Check out the excellent book, http://www.bowlingalone.com/ , for more facts on this well documented trend.

A valued, personal relationship with a tuner is part and parcel of the total ownership and playing experience of an acoustic piano for the vast majority of owners of acoustic pianos. If, as you said,
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
I'll take just a lousy manual for a DP any day over a relationship with a tuner...I don't care to develop a relationship with anyone.
then the investment, bother and expense of an acoustic piano is probably not for you. Which we already knew.

Those that want the complete acoustic piano experience, including being able to produce sounds that today are impossible on a digital piano, and, including inviting a tuner into their homes several times a year, will weigh the unique benefits of an acoustic instrument higher than the associated costs. What people value is to a large degree culturally determined.

Those that want the best of both worlds will probably have an acoustic piano but may also want a hybrid silent capability or a secondary instrument on which to practice silently or play around with. This thread is aimed at those people who are trying to make a choice for an (in some or many cases secondary) instrument, choosing from the top of the line cabinet offerings from Roland (HP-307), Yahama (CLP-380), Kawai (CA-93) and for comparison purposes for those with lots of money, the exciting new Yamaha AvandGrant(N2) with grand piano action.

Posted by: theJourney

Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 09:47 AM


Great contribution to the thread! Very helpful observations.




Originally Posted By: jbx
I am new to this forum, but today I tried the Kawai CA63 and Roland HP-307. Some time ago, I also tried the Yamaha CLP-380, but had no time today to try it. At that time I already found out I liked the Roland better than the Kawai, so I did not try it again today.

Did you mean the Yamaha here? I am a bit confused what pianos you were actually comparing side by side at the same place and time each audition session.
Originally Posted By: jbx

Unfortunately, I did not find a store yet (close enough to me) that had the CA93, but since the only real difference between the CA63 and CA93 is the speaker system and let-off simulation, I think my comparison of the CA63 and HP-307 is relevant for this topic. I looked especially at the action, and a bit at the sound, mostly with headphones (that is why I think it is acceptable that I compare the CA63 instead of the CA93). Here I put some of my findings/thoughts/opinions, hopefully useful to somebody.

Action:
  • Dynamic range: by this I do not mean the dynamic range of the output sound, because I suppose that can be controlled by a parameter in the software, but I am talking about the range of the physical velocity of the hammers that can be detected by the sensors. Velocities that are in reality higher, are all reported as the maximum velocity. One of the bigger problems of a DP in my opinion is that the maximum velocity is reached pretty easy by most DPs. For an acoustic piano, there is no such limit (until something breaks of course). I would like to measure this (I am a physicist), but was only able to compare qualitatively. My impression is that the Roland is the best one in this aspect: on the Roland, you need most physical force to reach the maximum velocity. I think this is good because it leaves more room for expressiveness.

I wonder if this can be modified by any setting on either instrument? Kawai James?
Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Velocity control: I do not know how to call this, but I mention this, because I was a bit disappointed in the Kawai on this aspect. I found it harder to control the velocity with the Kawai. Some notes sounded louder than I intended, others too soft. Especially, the middle range in velocities was hard to control in my opinion. I tried all standard touch levels from light to heavy and also tried to use a custom curve, but I was not satisfied. Maybe after some more trials with custom curves this could be improved. I do not know if this is a hardware or software problem with the Kawai, or maybe it is a problem with me... or I should get used to it better. However, I do not have this problem with most acoustic piano's I think.
  • Touch: the new Kawai has the heaviest touch, also clearly heavier then the previous series of Kawai. I like this, but maybe this is because I am used to an acoustic with heavy touch. The Roland and Kawai do not differ much, I think the Roland is a bit heavier.

  • So, do you see the heaviness as
    1) Roland
    2) Kawai
    3) Yamaha ?
    Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Key weight: I feel that something is not realistic about the key weight of the Roland and Yamaha's, but is realistic in the Kawai. I think it is the actual weight of the keys themselves (not the hammers). I noticed it most clearly by lightly 'tapping' the keys, with loose fingers. When a loose finger hits the key, the energy is transferred to the hammer, and the finger is almost stopped because of the collision with the key. At the moment the hammer is set in (fast) motion and the finger falls more slowly on the key, it is very noticeable in my opinion that the key itself is very light (Roland and Yamaha). It feels a bit bouncy and plasticy in this situation. The Kawai is superior in this aspect: I think the keys themselves are much heavier, which feels much more realistic. However, in normal play (except maybe for staccato) I did not notice this problem much when playing the Roland and Yamaha. I think because of the proper weight of the hammers, the keys appear to have a proper weight.
  • Summarizing: the Kawai feels more realistic and has a heavier touch (which I liked). The Roland has a better dynamic range and the velocities are easier to control.

    Sound:
    I think the Roland is clearly superior here. In my opinion the sound is more realistic and sounds more alive, although I cannot tell exactly why. One thing I noticed is that in the Roland sound you hear more realistic beats when multiple notes are hold for a longer time.

    Difference HP-307 and HP-305: slightly offtopic, but something I took a few minutes for and might interest some people: in my opinion the action of the PHAIII is only slightly better than the PHAII. I expected the difference to be bigger. The quality of the speaker system however was bigger than I expected. The speaker system of the HP-305 produced uneven results (some ranges too loud or sounding different), probably because of unwanted resonant frequencies.

    This morning I was pretty sure I would not be able to make a decision (again) and would lean towards the Kawai. But, to my surprise, I was able to make a clear decision for myself: I take the HP-307! The reason is that I liked the sound much better, and the keyboard gave me a feeling of better control (easier to control the velocities). Also, but less important to me, it has more options to fine tune the sound and better and more sounds. The only downside of the Roland in comparison to the Kawai is the slightly less realistic action, but the action of the Roland is satisfactory for me. However, if you are only interested in the most realistic action, then my advice is to go for the Kawai, and maybe use a software piano to be able to adjust the touch curve better and have better sounds.

    Edit: about the Yamaha: I think it is not a fair competition, because it is from one generation earlier. I am curious about what their next generation will bring...


    It is true that the product life cycles are not running synchronously, but we can only compare what is on the market. Last year, the Yamaha's were newly introduced models, and this year the Roland and Kawai. And, so it will continue.

    I am interested, assuming you will often use headphones and if you did not see too much difference between the PHAII keybed of the HP-305 and the PHAIII keybed of the HP-307, what made you want to spend the extra money on the HP-307? Here there is more than a 500 euro difference in price while both offer the Super Realistic Piano sound.
    Posted by: turandot

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 09:57 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    This thread is aimed at those people who are trying to make a choice for an (in some or many cases secondary) instrument, choosing from the top of the line cabinet offerings from Roland (HP-307), Yahama (CLP-380), Kawai (CA-93) and for comparison purposes for those with lots of money, the exciting new Yamaha AvandGrant(N2) with grand piano action.


    Journey,

    C'mon. You didn't arrive here yesterday on the back of the turnip truck. You ought to know by now that it's virtually impossible to aim at a specific segment of the membership in terms of eliciting responses, especially when you bait your net with colorful cultural invective. grin

    How long have you been sitting on the fence now about a replacement for that freebie Suzuki? Two years, three years?
    What's that all about anyway? Are you a conspiracy theorist?
    Are you more interested in shortcomings than what's actually good in a product? Are your playing skills too advanced for the current level of digital technology? Or are you continually thinking that the real breakthrough is just around the corner and you don't want to cast your lot too early?
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 10:07 AM

    Originally Posted By: turandot
    Or are you continually thinking that the real breakthrough is just around the corner and you don't want to cast your lot too early?


    That would be about it.

    I am sure glad that I didn't buy one last year.
    And, I am even more glad I didn't buy one two years ago.

    I am actually quite pleased to see that things seem to be moving again in the industry: improved actions, excursions into modeling, etc. I am very much looking forward to trying out Yamaha's CP line. If competition heats up between Yamaha, Roland, Kawai and Casio perhaps they will be forced to increase the consumer value of their offerings rather than following Yamaha's trick of milking us for every last cent they can for as long as they can on dumbed down products.

    Certainly I must be very close to pulling the trigger...certainly within the next three years.... ha

    I am thinking an instrument with the build quality of a CLP-380 or N2, with speakers optional, with the sound engine of a next or third generation VPiano with Pianoteq option and with a Kawai RM4 keybed...for under 2000 euros.
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 10:18 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    I wonder if this can be modified by any setting on either instrument? Kawai James?


    Well, selecting a heavier touch curve setting (or creating your own user touch curve) would perhaps achieve a similar result - e.g. increasing the amount of force required to reach the maximum volume.

    Originally Posted By: turandot
    Or are you continually thinking that the real breakthrough is just around the corner and you don't want to cast your lot too early?


    I reckon theJourney is just waiting to see if Williams announce any new models at Frankfurt next month. wink

    Cheers,
    James
    x
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 10:19 AM

    Originally Posted By: KAWAI James


    I reckon theJourney is just waiting to see if Williams announce any new models at Frankfurt next month. wink

    Cheers,
    James
    x


    Ouch.
    That
    really
    hurt
    .
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 11:35 AM

    ...this one looks very nice indeed! ;-)

    Posted by: voxpops

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 12:08 PM

    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    ...this one looks very nice indeed! ;-)



    Hey, at least it's got a mod wheel.

    Maybe you can route it to gunshot sounds for Bach renditions grin
    Posted by: ChrisA

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 01:16 PM


    Quote:
    Two points please. Those of us blessed (or cursed) with sensitive and accurate hearing can't deal with a digital reproduction of acoustic sound no matter how "accurate" it is because focussing on accuracy misses part of what making music is about: human beings sitting at human made things that are based on natural things such as air, vibrations, etc.


    This comment, I think speaks to the current poor state of the art of DPs. As long as they just playing digital samples of another instrument they will, no matter how good they become remain imitations.

    Notice how no one ever says a Fender Rhodes or a CP80 is a poor imitation of a acoustic grand piano.

    I think the digital piano industry needs to get away from imitation and move on into the 21st century and get back to what piano builders have been doing for 300 years, making pianos that are BETTER than what had been built before.

    What would happen if acoustic piano makers had all tried to copy Cristofori's Fortepiano. Today we'd have nothing but poor imitations of a 300 year old design.

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations

    Notice that this HAS started to happen. It might take another 30 or 50 years.
    Posted by: voxpops

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 01:36 PM

    Originally Posted By: ChrisA

    Quote:
    Two points please. Those of us blessed (or cursed) with sensitive and accurate hearing can't deal with a digital reproduction of acoustic sound no matter how "accurate" it is because focussing on accuracy misses part of what making music is about: human beings sitting at human made things that are based on natural things such as air, vibrations, etc.


    This comment, I think speaks to the current poor state of the art of DPs. As long as they just playing digital samples of another instrument they will, no matter how good they become remain imitations.

    Notice how no one ever says a Fender Rhodes or a CP80 is a poor imitation of a acoustic grand piano.

    I think the digital piano industry needs to get away from imitation and move on into the 21st century and get back to what piano builders have been doing for 300 years, making pianos that are BETTER than what had been built before.

    What would happen if acoustic piano makers had all tried to copy Cristofori's Fortepiano. Today we'd have nothing but poor imitations of a 300 year old design.

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations

    Notice that this HAS started to happen. It might take another 30 or 50 years.


    I agree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era? It's interesting that both the Rhodes and Wurlitzer were designed to solve problems pertaining mainly to the educational market and space/price considerations, and were not in themselves attempts to accurately recreate the piano sound. Perhaps it requires someone to approach the problem from a different perspective.

    That said, there is sense in providing DP facsimiles of existing "real" instruments that are too heavy/cumbersome/limited. The market size for DPs endorses that.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 04:39 PM

    Originally Posted By: voxpops

    I agree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era?


    Actually I don't see the point. What you would like to have is already there: It's called Synthesizer... You have hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of new and exciting sounds to play with, there is lots of music out there that makes excessive use of those sounds, and you can even create your own sounds in a very creative way! It's just not what everyone wants.

    And actually my DP is not just an imitation of an AP, it has several unique selling points, to talk in marketing language: I can play it in the night, it has different piano sounds, I can add effects and ambience, I can somehow adjust the sound, and I have some additional sounds like EPs, harpsichord, guitar, organs etc. that are fun to play with. And I can record my music as a midi file and edit it on a computer, or print out music sheets. And I don't need to tune it. And...and...and...
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 04:40 PM

    Originally Posted By: ChrisA

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations


    Whatever they can sell they will build. If there is any demand for such a thing, someone will "invent" it.
    Posted by: voxpops

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 05:04 PM

    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    Originally Posted By: voxpops

    I agree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era?


    Actually I don't see the point. What you would like to have is already there: It's called Synthesizer... You have hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of new and exciting sounds to play with, there is lots of music out there that makes excessive use of those sounds, and you can even create your own sounds in a very creative way! It's just not what everyone wants.

    And actually my DP is not just an imitation of an AP, it has several unique selling points, to talk in marketing language: I can play it in the night, it has different piano sounds, I can add effects and ambience, I can somehow adjust the sound, and I have some additional sounds like EPs, harpsichord, guitar, organs etc. that are fun to play with. And I can record my music as a midi file and edit it on a computer, or print out music sheets. And I don't need to tune it. And...and...and...


    I think the point is that instruments like the Rhodes, Wurli, Clavinet, Pianet were remarkable inventions created to overcome the limitations imposed by conventional piano design. They were not pianos and they were certainly not synthesizers, but they became iconic becasue of the character of the sound. I think DPs are wonderful for all the reasons you mention and am very happy to have access to them. But why say it has to be either a DP or a synthesizer? Electro-mechanical instruments were a fascinating development of the mid twentieth century; sampling/synthesis has been the hallmark of the last three decades; why not something new, now?
    Posted by: Melodialworks Music

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 05:17 PM

    Originally Posted By: voxpops


    Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era?



    I think that is what Roland was attempting with the Vanguard sounds from V-Piano.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 05:44 PM

    Originally Posted By: voxpops
    sampling/synthesis has been the hallmark of the last three decades; why not something new, now?


    There are many ways a syntheziser can operate and create their sounds, one of them is also physical modeling. So again, what's the point, it's all artificial/algorithmic creation of sound, you can immediately create your own very new sound with lots of variations and expressiveness. Many of the syntheziser sounds are now legendary because of their uniqueness. Everything is there, the boundary is just your imagination (and of course your ability to build algorithms / program sounds).
    Posted by: voxpops

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/25/10 06:00 PM

    Originally Posted By: kawaian

    Everything is there, the boundary is just your imagination (and of course your ability to build algorithms / program sounds).


    Yes, that's where things start to fall apart for me confused

    But it's not just the sound - it's the totality of the instrument as an expressive whole.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 02:47 AM

    Well, there have been a number of other innovations, such as the Ondes Martenot from 1928 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy9UBjrUjwo , Roland's guitar shaped wearable keyboards http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4050620085533970495# and various instruments with knobs, tabs, levers, etc. One could argue that in the dance scene "composers" are writing and performing mostly by using just computer software and perhaps a couple of MIDI input devices.

    Given that our joints move our limbs in arcs rather than straight lines, I have always wondered about the possibility of an ergonomic keyboard coming about such as the arched ones one can by for a PC.
    Posted by: jbx

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 08:24 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Great contribution to the thread! Very helpful observations.




    Originally Posted By: jbx
    I am new to this forum, but today I tried the Kawai CA63 and Roland HP-307. Some time ago, I also tried the Yamaha CLP-380, but had no time today to try it. At that time I already found out I liked the Roland better than the Kawai, so I did not try it again today.


    Did you mean the Yamaha here? I am a bit confused what pianos you were actually comparing side by side at the same place and time each audition session.

    Yes, I meant the Yamaha indeed! First time I compared Yamaha to Roland at a store with no Kawais. Second session I compared Kawai and Roland, this store did not have Yamaha CLP.
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Originally Posted By: jbx

    Unfortunately, I did not find a store yet (close enough to me) that had the CA93, but since the only real difference between the CA63 and CA93 is the speaker system and let-off simulation, I think my comparison of the CA63 and HP-307 is relevant for this topic. I looked especially at the action, and a bit at the sound, mostly with headphones (that is why I think it is acceptable that I compare the CA63 instead of the CA93). Here I put some of my findings/thoughts/opinions, hopefully useful to somebody.

    Action:
    • Dynamic range: by this I do not mean the dynamic range of the output sound, because I suppose that can be controlled by a parameter in the software, but I am talking about the range of the physical velocity of the hammers that can be detected by the sensors. Velocities that are in reality higher, are all reported as the maximum velocity. One of the bigger problems of a DP in my opinion is that the maximum velocity is reached pretty easy by most DPs. For an acoustic piano, there is no such limit (until something breaks of course). I would like to measure this (I am a physicist), but was only able to compare qualitatively. My impression is that the Roland is the best one in this aspect: on the Roland, you need most physical force to reach the maximum velocity. I think this is good because it leaves more room for expressiveness.

    I wonder if this can be modified by any setting on either instrument? Kawai James?

    You can adjust the curves, but I am not sure if the maximum force needed for the highest velocity can be adjusted, I think most DP's only adjust the shape of the curve. But anyway, I tried both on the most heavy curve, and my impression still was that on the Roland you need more physical force to reach the highest velocity.
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Velocity control: I do not know how to call this, but I mention this, because I was a bit disappointed in the Kawai on this aspect. I found it harder to control the velocity with the Kawai. Some notes sounded louder than I intended, others too soft. Especially, the middle range in velocities was hard to control in my opinion. I tried all standard touch levels from light to heavy and also tried to use a custom curve, but I was not satisfied. Maybe after some more trials with custom curves this could be improved. I do not know if this is a hardware or software problem with the Kawai, or maybe it is a problem with me... or I should get used to it better. However, I do not have this problem with most acoustic piano's I think.
  • Touch: the new Kawai has the heaviest touch, also clearly heavier then the previous series of Kawai. I like this, but maybe this is because I am used to an acoustic with heavy touch. The Roland and Kawai do not differ much, I think the Roland is a bit heavier.

  • So, do you see the heaviness as
    1) Roland
    2) Kawai
    3) Yamaha ?

    No, I think
    1) Kawai
    2) Roland
    3) Yamaha
    That is, for the new Kawai CA63/93. The CA51/71/91 are lighter then the Roland I think.
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Key weight: I feel that something is not realistic about the key weight of the Roland and Yamaha's, but is realistic in the Kawai. I think it is the actual weight of the keys themselves (not the hammers). I noticed it most clearly by lightly 'tapping' the keys, with loose fingers. When a loose finger hits the key, the energy is transferred to the hammer, and the finger is almost stopped because of the collision with the key. At the moment the hammer is set in (fast) motion and the finger falls more slowly on the key, it is very noticeable in my opinion that the key itself is very light (Roland and Yamaha). It feels a bit bouncy and plasticy in this situation. The Kawai is superior in this aspect: I think the keys themselves are much heavier, which feels much more realistic. However, in normal play (except maybe for staccato) I did not notice this problem much when playing the Roland and Yamaha. I think because of the proper weight of the hammers, the keys appear to have a proper weight.
  • Summarizing: the Kawai feels more realistic and has a heavier touch (which I liked). The Roland has a better dynamic range and the velocities are easier to control.

    Sound:
    I think the Roland is clearly superior here. In my opinion the sound is more realistic and sounds more alive, although I cannot tell exactly why. One thing I noticed is that in the Roland sound you hear more realistic beats when multiple notes are hold for a longer time.

    Difference HP-307 and HP-305: slightly offtopic, but something I took a few minutes for and might interest some people: in my opinion the action of the PHAIII is only slightly better than the PHAII. I expected the difference to be bigger. The quality of the speaker system however was bigger than I expected. The speaker system of the HP-305 produced uneven results (some ranges too loud or sounding different), probably because of unwanted resonant frequencies.

    This morning I was pretty sure I would not be able to make a decision (again) and would lean towards the Kawai. But, to my surprise, I was able to make a clear decision for myself: I take the HP-307! The reason is that I liked the sound much better, and the keyboard gave me a feeling of better control (easier to control the velocities). Also, but less important to me, it has more options to fine tune the sound and better and more sounds. The only downside of the Roland in comparison to the Kawai is the slightly less realistic action, but the action of the Roland is satisfactory for me. However, if you are only interested in the most realistic action, then my advice is to go for the Kawai, and maybe use a software piano to be able to adjust the touch curve better and have better sounds.

    Edit: about the Yamaha: I think it is not a fair competition, because it is from one generation earlier. I am curious about what their next generation will bring...



    It is true that the product life cycles are not running synchronously, but we can only compare what is on the market. Last year, the Yamaha's were newly introduced models, and this year the Roland and Kawai. And, so it will continue.

    I am interested, assuming you will often use headphones and if you did not see too much difference between the PHAII keybed of the HP-305 and the PHAIII keybed of the HP-307, what made you want to spend the extra money on the HP-307? Here there is more than a 500 euro difference in price while both offer the Super Realistic Piano sound.


    Indeed, I had really big doubts about this choice. I chose for the 307 because:
    1. The PHAIII keybed is really a bit better than PHAII, I only found the difference smaller then expected, but it still is significant.
    2. The speakers and amplifier of the 307 are much better. I think I will be playing maybe 75% with headphones, but the other 25% is also important!
    3. The 307 has more settings that can be changed, which I like a lot, like the lid open/close (which is very realistically) and especially the equalizer.
    4. I think the 307 will have a better value to sell second hand after some years since it is the top model with better keybed.

    A few more remarks after playing a bit with my new HP-307: generally, I am very happy with it, especially with the sound generator and the keyboard action. Build quality looks also good. The only downside is that the speaker system is not superb. Of course I understand a really high end amplifier and speaker system would be too expensive. I noticed some resonance around 100Hz, but luckily I was able to correct it quite satisfactorily with the built-in equalizer. I also made the bass tones a bit software because I think they are a bit too loud on default.

    In my opinion, each manufacturer has its strong and weak points:

    Kawai: strong: keyboard action, weak: sound generation
    Roland: strong: sound generation weak: speaker system
    Yamaha: strong: speaker system, neutral: sound generation and keyboard action.
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 09:10 AM

    Interesting post jbx, congratulations on the purchase of your new DP!

    Quote:
    In my opinion, each manufacturer has its strong and weak points:

    Kawai: strong: keyboard action, weak: sound generation
    Roland: strong: sound generation weak: speaker system
    Yamaha: strong: speaker system, neutral: sound generation and keyboard action.


    Therefore, if we were to assume that money is not an option, perhaps the best combination would be to MIDI the CA93 (keyboard) to the HP-307 (sound generator), then connect the output from the Roland to the CLP-380's line-in (speaker system).

    Cheers,
    James
    x
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 10:35 AM

    Originally Posted By: jbx
    Kawai: strong: keyboard action, weak: sound generation
    Roland: strong: sound generation weak: speaker system
    Yamaha: strong: speaker system, neutral: sound generation and keyboard action.


    I wonder how the HP-307 would sound with some studio monitors added to the equation? 350 euros will be a pair of pretty decent monitors such as a pair of KRK Rokit R2s, bringing the total cost still 1500 euros less than the Yamaha CLP-380...

    If one is going to add something to the equation, then it seems more straightforward to just add a couple of speakers rather than having to hook up a PC with software to the Kawai.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 11:07 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    If one is going to add something to the equation, then it seems more straightforward to just add a couple of speakers rather than having to hook up a PC with software to the Kawai.


    Why is it a given that the sound generation of KAWAI is weak in any way? That's depending on the personal preference: I think it's very good sounding.
    Posted by: hpeterh

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 02:11 PM

    Originally Posted By: sullivang
    Originally Posted By: ChrisA

    Here is a question for a physicist: Do you think a keyboard action could be described by a small set of parameters?


    FWIW, here's some info on the piano action: http://www.ofai.at/cgi-bin/get-tr?paper=oefai-tr-2005-01.pdf but I don't think it answers your question. (stumbled on this when searching for repetition rate specifications)


    Here is something similar: http://www.speech.kth.se/music/5_lectures/askenflt/askenflt.html

    I stumbled upon this when searching for "fastest repetion rate piano" ;-)

    BTW, there is a very important paqram that can be measured easily: The Keystroke strengt for velocity 127.

    At the abovementioned artikle they say that for a real akustik piano keyvelocity rarely exceeds 1m/s.

    I have measured this for my Kawai CP136 piano and found 1.7m/s for velocity 126.

    How to measure this? Use a soft and stable cardboard, put it onto a key and let a hammer fall onto it. Measure the falling distance and calculate the velocity. I found 150mm.

    Ok, at a piano store they will probably prohibit you from doing this. So you must use your hands. Hand and arm in typical player position weight 750g, that is much more than the mass inertia of the key.
    Let them fall down totally relaxed. This should give values that can be compared.

    I find that falling distance is much more illustrative than velocity, so the falling distance should be used instead.

    For ff it should be between 1m/s repective 50mm falling distance and 2m/s respective 300mm falling distance.

    Peter
    Posted by: dewster

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 03:15 PM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Well, there have been a number of other innovations, such as the Ondes Martenot from 1928 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy9UBjrUjwo

    Just a mono conventional keyboard with filters and crazy speaker effects, but it can have a continuous controller.

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Roland's guitar shaped wearable keyboards http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4050620085533970495#

    Just a conventional keyboard in a strange case with some other stuff attached.

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Given that our joints move our limbs in arcs rather than straight lines, I have always wondered about the possibility of an ergonomic keyboard coming about such as the arched ones one can by for a PC.

    We can't have new controllers - there is an unholy combination of at least three things preventing it:

    1) Backward compatibility to a large pre-existing user base - conventional keyboards are a known quantity, anyone that can play piano can do something on it. New controllers suffer from chicken/egg syndrome. So almost every controller looks, and can be played, like a piano or a guitar.

    2) Corporate culture isn't interested in employing unmanageable "rock star" engineers or designers who truly think outside their tiny, constrained little box. So they hire mediocre employees who will do anything to get the scratch to put their kids thru college and fund vacations, and do it in a generally lackluster manner. I've heard numerous managers say they prefer a bog-average employee that gets along to a difficult genius. Managers don't like it when people make them look like the generally unimaginative people they tend to be.

    3) MIDI bandwidth - to allow expressive input, one really needs some events happening at an audio sample rate of 40kHz or better. The MIDI BAUD rate is 1/32 of 1MHz, or 31.25kHz. The shortest message over this interface is two bytes, which translates into a <2kHz message rate. MIDI was a revolution when it came along, but IMO it's been holding controllers back for at least the last decade. And I'm not talking keyboard controllers here, it works fine for that generally. I'm talking guitar controllers and the like where playing must be somehow translated to MIDI, at which point lags are introduced, nuance is discarded, and all the life is wrung out of it.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 04:29 PM

    Originally Posted By: dewster

    3) MIDI bandwidth


    That sounds interesting. Do you know why noone introduced a MIDI2 Specification, just like USB2, with backward compatibility?
    Or is there still no real need for a bigger bandwidth? On the other side, those controllers could be easily equipped with just USB and then connected to a PC. Most of the current keyboards have a USB connection anyway.
    Posted by: dewster

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 02/27/10 04:54 PM

    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    Do you know why noone introduced a MIDI2 Specification, just like USB2, with backward compatibility?
    Or is there still no real need for a bigger bandwidth?

    MIDI was a boon to manufacturers and users, but these days I think manufacturers see it as an element that tends to commoditize their goods, which they are rightly averse to I suppose as commoditization exposes them to even more intense market forces, which drives down profits.

    We could really use a bidirectional audio / control stream that will play nice between manufacturers, but they don't seem interested in anything other than their own proprietary (and therefore useless, yet at the same time expensive to include in an instrument) implementations, such as Yamaha's mLAN. Maybe they think it will all shake out like the HD DVD wars, where the single company left standing & holding the patents wins. Meanwhile absolutely nothing happens.

    Everyone says markets will give us everything if we just let them - that if we want it bad enough someone will build it. I see markets, at least in this industry, as holding back innovation and lowering efficiency. PC solutions are absolutely murdering them, but they remain stuck in a deep rut, falling behind as they stand still. So people are left to their own devices, cobbling keyboards, PC hardware, piano software, and monitors together on their own.
    Posted by: toyboy

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/03/10 01:17 PM

    Originally Posted By: ChrisA


    I think the digital piano industry needs to get away from imitation and move on into the 21st century and get back to what piano builders have been doing for 300 years, making pianos that are BETTER than what had been built before.

    (SNIP)

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations

    Notice that this HAS started to happen. It might take another 30 or 50 years.


    I can agree with this totally. I"m not at all sure what it would look like but it would be interesting, for instance, if a company like Steinway (or whomever) joined forces with a company like Yamaha (or whomever). Maybe a Prius of the piano world is what everyone would be happy(er) with.
    Posted by: dewster

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/03/10 01:37 PM

    Originally Posted By: toyboy
    I can agree with this totally. I"m not at all sure what it would look like but it would be interesting, for instance, if a company like Steinway (or whomever) joined forces with a company like Yamaha (or whomever). Maybe a Prius of the piano world is what everyone would be happy(er) with.

    The problem is, once a market is dominated by a few large manufacturers all real innovation grinds to a halt. You get a few new features here and there, but never anything revolutionary.

    Individuals or small groups drive all the real innovation happening these days.
    Posted by: ChrisA

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/03/10 01:49 PM

    Originally Posted By: hpeterh

    For ff it should be between 1m/s repective 50mm falling distance and 2m/s respective 300mm falling distance.

    Peter


    I think your either you calculation or your description of it is wrong.

    I think you are calulating the velocity of the object that strikes the piano key and not the velocity of the key. The two would be the same only if the key had zero mass and zero friction

    To know the key velocity you will have to measure it. I think you can measure it with a video camera. Place a vertical ruller with a millimetre scale near the key and shoot video of the key and ruler.

    I'm guessing they you calculation of a 1.7m/s hammer speed is about right for a 1.0m/s key velocity.
    Posted by: sullivang

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 06:42 AM

    You might also be able to measure the velocity of the key roughly by recording it, and measuring the time delay between the instant your finger contacts the key, to the "clunk" of the key bottoming out. I've used this technique to produce very repeatable total key-contact to sound-from-speaker latency measurements.
    For key velocity measurement, it would be best to turn the sound of the piano off. (which I realise is impossible on an acoustic!) This method won't work if some part of the action makes a sound before the key bottoms out, though. (unless you can recognise the sound and make allowances for it)

    A mobile phone with a voice recording function works fine.

    Using the video method, you might have to have a few goes at it in order to get two frames of the key moving, I think. smile
    (60Hz video = 17ms inter-frame interval, and on my Kawai MP9000 I meausure about a 20ms time delay from key contact to key bottoming out, for a forte hit - ASSUMING that the clunk coincides with the key bottoming out) Actually, the video camera will probably need to be very sensitive (high ISO/fast shutter speed), otherwise I suspect the result will be too blurred to allow a measurement at all.

    EDIT: I've just done a calculation: playing a forte note (just one "F", I think - not "FFF" - definitely not 127 with the MP9000 on "normal" response), it's 0.6m/s. Key travel is about 12mm. I'm pretty sure the clunk on this digital piano coincides closely with the key bottoming out.

    Greg.
    Posted by: surgtech

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 08:38 AM

    jbx, did you notice on your HP-307 that D above middle C is clicking? Someone said it on this forum. Please let us know.
    Posted by: snazzyplayer

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 08:50 AM

    Originally Posted By: surgtech
    jbx, did you notice on your HP-307 that D above middle C is clicking? Someone said it on this forum. Please let us know.


    T'was I that said the key was clicking...and, actually, the action itself felt a bit looser than I expected, but considering the instrument I played was a demo model, it might have seen a tad more than normal use.

    Still, not exactly confidence inspiring.

    The "Ivory" keys are too rough for my liking (again, a personal view)...they feel nothing like an actual piano key...certainly nothing like the keys on my Steinway.

    Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I wasn't overly impressed with the HP-307.

    Snazzy
    Posted by: surgtech

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 09:31 AM

    The one I tried had actually visible roughness on black keys and I didn't like that. I think I'll have to go back and check on that D because I know it will make me crazy if I find later it's clicking.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 09:36 AM

    Actually, in the past the Kawai's were the ones with a reputation for loosy-goosiness. The Rolands were the ones with the reputation for the ivory coating wearing off in the first year. The Yamahas seem to be the brand that consistently has the most reliable and solid build quality.

    Has anyone paid attention to the relative amount of clickity clackity sound produced by the instrument when being played silently with headphones? There were discussions in the past of the Roland design becoming noisier with age.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 10:15 AM

    The RM3 within CA63 has no clickity clackity at all, it's very silent. I cannot state anything about reliability, it's just out for roughly a month.
    Posted by: toyboy

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 11:02 AM

    Originally Posted By: dewster

    The problem is, once a market is dominated by a few large manufacturers all real innovation grinds to a halt. You get a few new features here and there, but never anything revolutionary.

    Individuals or small groups drive all the real innovation happening these days.


    i understand the "Wright Brothers in the garage" concept of innovation, but considering the expense to develop and relative small market for something like this, it is hard to imagine two guys in a garage saying "hey let's develop a new piano" let alone venture capital being invested. my point was simply that those "large manufacturers" (like them or not, want to work there or not) are the ones with a vested interest in the future of pianos. Japanese companies, for their size, are notoriously innovative and flexible. but what the manufacturers of digital pianos are NOT a part of (save Yamaha of course) is being part of the tradition of the making of an acoustic pianos.

    and anyway, it's all a pipe dream. I doubt well see anything like this unless the acoustic manufacturers see some benefit to add some sort of digital aspect.

    btw, if all inovation has ground to a halt, it is hard to understand where all the digital pianos have come from in the first place. smile
    Posted by: dewster

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 12:43 PM

    I saw some old video footage recently, I believe it was of Dave Smith of Sequential Circuits. He said that, with microprocessors readily available, there was no reason not to have a self-calibrating polyphonic analog synth on the market. He assumed the big guys had to be aware of that too, it was such an obvious and natural conclusion to come to if you worked in the field, and so it was just a matter of time before one would hit the market. He waited years before coming to the realization that no one was going to do it. So he did it, and the Prophet 5 was born, and it was quite a success.

    Digital pianos have only very slowly and incrementally evolved from the first Kurzweil K250 in 1984, and I would argue that the lion's share of those changes are attributable to Moore's law than anything else. I think the V-Piano was in response to Pianoteq, otherwise that product would likely have never materialized. PC samplers and modelers have shown anyone who wants to look that it is entirely possible to improve the DP immensely. Yet no manufacturer is stepping up to the plate. If people are still willing and able to pay $5k for a $1 sample set, why should they? If I made DPs and my focus was primarily on profits, I wouldn't be looking that gift horse in the mouth either.
    Posted by: jbx

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 05:32 PM

    Originally Posted By: surgtech
    jbx, did you notice on your HP-307 that D above middle C is clicking? Someone said it on this forum. Please let us know.


    That is not the case with my HP-307, at least: all keys make a slight clicking noise (for clarity: not in the digital sound, but the action itself is making some slight clicking noise). I noticed that this clicking noise differs somewhat from key-to-key, but not much and the D above middle C is not louder than others on my DP.
    I think this click is either from the extra sensor or the let-off simulation mechanism in the action. I do not find it disturbing. It is certainly softer than the mechanical noise that you hear when the key hits its bottom and/or the hammer of the action mechanism reaches its end point (I don't know if these are the correct English words).
    I find the noise of the keyboard a little disturbing when playing on low volume. If the volume is on a level comparable to that of an acoustic, I do not notice it anymore. With my closed headphones on a reasonable volume I do not notice it either. My wife does, but it does not disturb her, but I can imagine it would disturb others a little.
    I don't remember if the noise of the HP-307 action is louder than that of Kawai or Yamaha, but I am sure the difference is not very big. I also remembered that I found it comparable to the noise of the action of an acoustic: I tried a Yamaha silent piano with the volume set to zero to compare.
    Posted by: surgtech

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/04/10 06:15 PM

    Jbx, thanks for your reply.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 03:36 AM

    Originally Posted By: dewster
    ... I think the V-Piano was in response to Pianoteq, otherwise that product would likely have never materialized.


    By the same token, the CP line, especially the CP1 seems to be in response to the VPiano. The fact that there is such a huge gap between the announcement and the actual ability to audition or buy one for most people is indicative on a consumer products marketing strategy to try to freeze sales of a competitors product while you desperately play catchup.
    Posted by: Nachtschatten

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 01:59 PM

    Just 2 cents, I've been able to compare some DP's yesterday and this afternoon. I specifically tested, with headphones, for looping, stretching, note decay, similarness of sound over the whole range, presence of string resonance, 'sustain test'. While the stretching is very audible in the files proposed in other threads, I found it hard to detect when playing myself. Looping however is obvious, now that I know what to search for.

    1) CLP380 sounds outdated now. Very audible looping. Nice string resonance. Couldn't really hear the added value of another sample layer. Succeeds the 'sustain test'. Nice keyboard, but I'm not accomplished enough to feel the finesses of the differences between the keys. It felt lighter than the Rolands, and they have of course the escapement. Might be 'saved' by the sound system (from memory, as I played with headphones yesterday).

    2) Kawais: can't comment as not available in the Netherlands.

    3) HP307: really a step forward sound-wise. No audible looping, nice decay, string resonance very natural. Succeeds the sustain test (most Rolands didn't until now, most Yamahas did). However, the mid-range feels a bit flat and poor (others have described this better). From G6 onwards, there's a metallic 'twang' / quality to the sound, the transition from F6 is very audible. Sounds a bit strange, but could be something inherited from AP's.

    4) Other DP's I briefly played (top-of-the-line):
    - CP1: some disappointment after all the raves here, at least concerning the main AP sound (didn't play the other sounds / EPs). Overall very nice sound, very equal about the whole spectrum, nice and easy keyboard feel. But: no string resonance, fails the sustain test, even the lightest + softest touch invariably produces a sound (but it shouldn't).
    - Avant Grand N3: only had a very brief impression (it's way out of my price range). Seemed to be the overall winner, extremely good key touch + sounds. But I also like the versatility of a DP - being able to play harpsichords, church organs, EP's etc. is one of my reasons to buy one!
    - RD700GX with the SuperNatural extension: very similar to HP307, but more (great) piano sounds. No audible looping, nice string resonance etc. Same problems with the mid-range however, plus the change in sound from G6 onwards (applies to all the new sounds). Succeeds the sustain test. Overall a great step forward over the stock sounds. I’ll probably have this one built into an AP cabinet, with a nice speaker system. There’s a shop here in the Netherlands that specialized on that (see my digitalclassic.nl thread). The price tag is elevated (around 5000 Euro if the extension is included), but it’s really tempting as they build a really good speaker system in a really nice cabinet.

    Just my opinions…
    Posted by: CruelStrings

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 02:51 PM

    Originally Posted By: Nachtschatten
    Just 2 cents, I've been able to compare some DP's yesterday and this afternoon. I specifically tested, with headphones, for looping, stretching, note decay, similarness of sound over the whole range, presence of string resonance, 'sustain test'. While the stretching is very audible in the files proposed in other threads, I found it hard to detect when playing myself. Looping however is obvious, now that I know what to search for.

    1) CLP380 sounds outdated now. Very audible looping. Nice string resonance. Couldn't really hear the added value of another sample layer. Succeeds the 'sustain test'. Nice keyboard, but I'm not accomplished enough to feel the finesses of the differences between the keys. It felt lighter than the Rolands, and they have of course the escapement. Might be 'saved' by the sound system (from memory, as I played with headphones yesterday).

    2) Kawais: can't comment as not available in the Netherlands.

    3) HP307: really a step forward sound-wise. No audible looping, nice decay, string resonance very natural. Succeeds the sustain test (most Rolands didn't until now, most Yamahas did). However, the mid-range feels a bit flat and poor (others have described this better). From G6 onwards, there's a metallic 'twang' / quality to the sound, the transition from F6 is very audible. Sounds a bit strange, but could be something inherited from AP's.

    4) Other DP's I briefly played (top-of-the-line):
    - CP1: some disappointment after all the raves here, at least concerning the main AP sound (didn't play the other sounds / EPs). Overall very nice sound, very equal about the whole spectrum, nice and easy keyboard feel. But: no string resonance, fails the sustain test, even the lightest + softest touch invariably produces a sound (but it shouldn't).
    - Avant Grand N3: only had a very brief impression (it's way out of my price range). Seemed to be the overall winner, extremely good key touch + sounds. But I also like the versatility of a DP - being able to play harpsichords, church organs, EP's etc. is one of my reasons to buy one!
    - RD700GX with the SuperNatural extension: very similar to HP307, but more (great) piano sounds. No audible looping, nice string resonance etc. Same problems with the mid-range however, plus the change in sound from G6 onwards (applies to all the new sounds). Succeeds the sustain test. Overall a great step forward over the stock sounds. I’ll probably have this one built into an AP cabinet, with a nice speaker system. There’s a shop here in the Netherlands that specialized on that (see my digitalclassic.nl thread). The price tag is elevated (around 5000 Euro if the extension is included), but it’s really tempting as they build a really good speaker system in a really nice cabinet.

    Just my opinions…


    Nachtschatten, I get a strong feeling of "hidden' adversitement" from reading your posts. You subtly drop that company's name quite often and your posts feel heavily biased.

    Maybe I'm wrong and I apologize if I am

    Just my opinion.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 03:31 PM

    @CruelStrings, what kind of comment is that? Please bring up some own experiences rather than doubt others objectivity. Everyone is somehow biased by the way...
    Posted by: Nachtschatten

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 04:19 PM

    Hi cruelstrings,

    no affiliation with any company / brand / shop whatsoever. Just my, probably very subjective, opinions. From which I make my, probably very subjective, conclusions. I'm far from being an accomplished piano player, others here can detect much more subtle things than I can. I just want to learn from these forums, like probably many others, and make a, hopefully well-informed, buying decision. If I can add some comments here or there...
    Yes, at this moment I'm probably leaning towards Roland. As others do towards Yamaha or Kawai, or other brands. As I said, I'd rather have liked to go with a Yamaha, as they have excellent reputation, have a long line of Clavinova success, and are the only ones that don't seem to have quality problems. But I think I’ve made my (own, subjective, …) reasons quite clear.
    No, I'm not affiliated with the 'DigitalClassic.nl' shop. Just a potential future, yet still undecided, customer. What else can I say? If you have the time, read all my posts (it’s not that much yet), and tell me where I could have been more objective / unbiased / …

    But thanks for asking wink

    It’s nice to see how self-regulating 99% of these threads are, thanks kawaian. And if there’s ranting or worse going on, there are always some who put things back on track – which is one of the reasons why I like these forums so much.
    Posted by: Nguyen

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 05:19 PM

    I am happy to report I have finally made my decision and will update the Prices Paid thread after this post.

    I’m not an experienced pianist yet so my inputs here will just be what and how I feel. Sorry I can’t explain them in technical or musical terms like most of you do, I’ll just state how I feel in common language.

    I visited 3 different dealers today. One has the CA93, one has the CLP380, and one has the HP-307.

    I really like the keyboard of the CA93. As I go back and forward between a Kawai grand and this one, the CA93 feels almost as a grand. Sound wise, not so great. Like I said, I don’t know what it is but it doesn’t give me that wow feeling. So if you’re into gadgets and all that hooking your DP up to a computer and use software, in my opinion, this is the one to get.

    The CLP-380 sounds the best to my ears, again, I can’t detect stretching or looping as my ears aren’t well-trained. I just play and listen to how it sounds, and I must say I really like Yamaha main Piano sound on the CLP-380. Its key action is a little bouncy to my taste, and as a student, key action is the most important to me. Compare to the CA93, I must say if I rate from 1-10, the CA93 gets an 8 compare to a grand but the CLP-380 only about 5 or at best 6 key action wise. Again, this is just my own personal touch and feel.

    The HP-307 key action gets about 6 or 7 to me but its Grand Piano sounds better than the CA93 to my ears. I only play Grand Piano sound, not any other sound. I keep going back and forth between the HP-307 and a Schimmel grand and it doesn’t feel quite right but I like it better than the CLP380 action. I think PHA III keys are a bit shallower than the other two. By shallow I mean its distance from rest position to bottom is shorter. Maybe it’s just me I just wish it’s a little deep like the other 2 would be great. Though it’s a bit shallower to my fingers, it scores somewhere in between the CLP & the CA. Grand Piano sound is very good to my ears, though I still like the Grand Piano of the CLP380 better.

    In the end, I decided the HP-307 is my DP for the foreseeable future and made the purchase.

    This thread is great. Thanks all. Hopefully I’ll be happy with this one for a while. I’d really go for the CLP380 if they make its key action like the CA or even the HP despite its cost, $4,700 for a Polished Mahogany, ouch smile I’m sure these key actions will improve one day and I’ll have that itch to upgrade but for now, I really hope I’ll be happy with this HP-307 for several years.

    Best,
    Nguyen
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 05:46 PM

    Thanks for your heads up and your impressions! Sounds like a good compromise between the good sound of the clp-380 and the great keyboard action of the ca-63. All the best for your piano studies!
    Posted by: Nachtschatten

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 05:49 PM

    I found the link to the sustain test, thanks theJourney (and kudos to jscomposer):

    http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/703018/1.html
    Posted by: CruelStrings

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 05:56 PM

    Originally Posted By: Nachtschatten
    Hi cruelstrings,

    no affiliation with any company / brand / shop whatsoever. Just my, probably very subjective, opinions. From which I make my, probably very subjective, conclusions. I'm far from being an accomplished piano player, others here can detect much more subtle things than I can. I just want to learn from these forums, like probably many others, and make a, hopefully well-informed, buying decision. If I can add some comments here or there...
    Yes, at this moment I'm probably leaning towards Roland. As others do towards Yamaha or Kawai, or other brands. As I said, I'd rather have liked to go with a Yamaha, as they have excellent reputation, have a long line of Clavinova success, and are the only ones that don't seem to have quality problems. But I think I’ve made my (own, subjective, …) reasons quite clear.
    No, I'm not affiliated with the 'DigitalClassic.nl' shop. Just a potential future, yet still undecided, customer. What else can I say? If you have the time, read all my posts (it’s not that much yet), and tell me where I could have been more objective / unbiased / …

    But thanks for asking wink

    It’s nice to see how self-regulating 99% of these threads are, thanks kawaian. And if there’s ranting or worse going on, there are always some who put things back on track – which is one of the reasons why I like these forums so much.



    Sorry! Did not mean to offend you. My internal brain SPAM algorithm is off center haha.
    Thanks for sharing and rock on!
    Posted by: Nguyen

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/06/10 06:35 PM

    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    Thanks for your heads up and your impressions! Sounds like a good compromise between the good sound of the clp-380 and the great keyboard action of the ca-63. All the best for your piano studies!

    Thanks kawaian. You know I really like the CA93 action. It has the same action as your CA63 but with an impressive soundboard. I think you hit a jackpot with your DP. I didn't get it because I am not into hooking or computerize it at all. If I'm like you, or ChrisA or Dewster or anyone good with computer and pianoteq, then I'd be a proud onwer of the CA93 now. It's a no brainer key action wise to me.
    Posted by: jbx

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/07/10 03:42 PM

    Originally Posted By: Nachtschatten
    2) Kawais: can't comment as not available in the Netherlands.


    I see this mentioned often. A few weeks ago I did some Googling for shops in The Netherlands that have the CA63 and I found some. To help others, I mention them here, it is not an attempt to spam, I have no affiliation with any of them!

    Note: probably there are more shops that have them and maybe not all of them have them, always phone before traveling!!!

    http://muziekhuisdera.nl/ has both the CA63 and CA93 on display in Heerlen (close to train station) and also recent Yamaha and Rolands I think.

    http://www.pianos-vleugels.nl/ has the CA63 on display in Eindhoven.

    http://www.vanurk.nl/ has the CA63 on display in Rotterdam (close to central train station), but has no recent Yamaha or Rolands.

    A few others that said they would have them shortly or already had them but not displayed yet. They have them ready maybe now:
    http://www.vanoldenielpiano.nl/ in Deventer will probably have the CA63 now, call them first!

    http://www.vriese.nl/ maybe has the CA63 in Doetinchem, but not sure.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 02:25 AM

    Heerlen and Doetinchem are indeed both about 3 hour, $75 train trips from Amsterdam on the German border and these stores seem to be serving the German market as much as the Dutch one. They are the only stores with the ability to compare the Roland and Yamaha products. Those living in the Randstad will just have to spend a day shopping if they want to audition Kawai.

    The others listed either have websites that do not work, or very poor reputations or do not have the Kawais actually on display or in stock: the kind of dealers that Kawai unfortunately has been known for here in the past...
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 02:43 AM

    Still, there's quite a big difference between 'not available locally' and 'not available anywhere in the country'.

    Kind regards,
    James
    x
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 04:13 AM

    Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
    Still, there's quite a big difference between 'not available locally' and 'not available anywhere in the country'.

    Kind regards,
    James
    x
    Don't know if anyone was claiming that they were not available anywhere at all somewhere in the country.

    However, for the 7.7 million people living in the Randstad, taking a three hour, $75 train trip to audition a piano next to Roland and Yamaha that most have never heard of and that is not advertised or promoted, the difference between "not available anywhere in the country" and "not available anywhere relevant" is very small indeed...

    Don't believe me, though, look at your internal sales numbers and warranty cards statistics. Read 'em and weep.
    Posted by: jbx

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 04:34 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Heerlen and Doetinchem are indeed both about 3 hour, $75 train trips from Amsterdam on the German border and these stores seem to be serving the German market as much as the Dutch one. They are the only stores with the ability to compare the Roland and Yamaha products. Those living in the Randstad will just have to spend a day shopping if they want to audition Kawai.

    The others listed either have websites that do not work, or very poor reputations or do not have the Kawais actually on display or in stock: the kind of dealers that Kawai unfortunately has been known for here in the past...


    I agree it is a shame that there is no store in Amsterdam or Utrecht that has a line-up of Yamaha, Roland and Kawai, but I do not entirely agree with your reply. Van Urk in Rotterdam is a very reputable store. From Amsterdam it is a 1 hour, euro 25 train trip. Indeed, they don't have the top models of Roland and Yamaha on display, but it is a reasonable way to try the CA63. Probably there is some other store in Rotterdam that has the Roland and Yamaha, I don't know about that... not an ideal situation, but better than nothing at all I think.

    Both Rotterdam and Eindhoven have the CA63 actually on display, confirmed by phone.
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 04:47 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Don't know if anyone was claiming that they were not available anywhere at all somewhere in the country.

    I believe Nachtschatten claimed that KAWAI DPs were not available in the Netherlands.

    Originally Posted By: Nachtschatten
    2) Kawais: can't comment as not available in the Netherlands.

    Ah yes, there we go.

    jbx, thank you for clarifying the situation.

    Kind regards,
    James
    x
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 04:58 AM

    Fair enough, I appreciate this information.

    However, based on reputation, I would not buy one from van Urk in Rotterdam, but that does look like the fastest way to audition one without the escapement feature even though you can't do any side by side comparison there -- which of course was the idea of this thread: the "official" playoff between Yamaha, Roland and Kawai's top cabinet style offerings (the CA93) including the Yamaha Avantgrand N2.

    Very strange price information on the van Urk site, BTW.
    Thomann.de shows the list price with Dutch VAT for the CA63 as euro 2290 and offers it for sale at euro 2168.
    van Urk shows the list price with Dutch VAT for the CA63 as 2656 and offers it for sale at 2470.
    Stores that don't stock these Kawai models are encouraging people to try them elsewhere and then will order them for you for about euro 2000.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 05:08 AM

    Well I would say it's worth to "just" play the CA63: The is only little difference between those two models that really matters (at least for me):

    - I don't care for escapement, I even tend to like it better without it
    - Additional sounds are nothing to rave about
    - Well, the soundboard is of course interesting if you intend to play a lot with loudspeakers. But for testing the quality of the internal sounds with a quality headphone is a good alternative
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 05:11 AM

    Good points, I agree.
    Something tells me I will find an excuse to go to Rotterdam this week. smile
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 05:26 AM

    theJourney, once again, I believe I can sympathise with your situation: I desperately want to try the CP1, yet despite being manufactured in this city, it's not available for me to play-test locally! (I've visited the main Yamaha store in town, and cycled to all of the large malls in this area).

    Cheers,
    James
    x
    Posted by: Nachtschatten

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 05:30 AM

    I'm glad to see that they are available in some places. Looks like I haven't been looking enough. Also, in the local shops, the sales guys (at least in 2 shops) told me that Kawai had pulled out of the Dutch market. Still, it's not a very strong presence. And to see, e.g., a CA-111 quoted at > 5000Euro at one of the places, while it's available for ~4300 in Germany, doesn't help much either. This is of course before negotiation, but I don't have the impression that it's possible to get as large discounts here as, e.g., in the US.

    Maybe Kawai should rethink their strategy for the Netherlands? DP's seem to sell very well here, many used DP's don't stay long on places like marktplaats.nl (except older ones). I'd definitely like to be able to compare all 3 big brands side by side.

    The closest shop to me is van Urk in Rotterdam. I might give it a try (but have to find the time). Or if I drive to Wezep again, I might make it a round trip to the 2 other shops that are not too far from there. I don't know anything about the reputation of these shops. I've been to 4 in total here, the one in Nieuwegein and in Wezep seem good to me.

    As I said, I've been able to (very briefly) play the CA-111 in Germany. However, at that time I had merely begun my search and could not compare as much as I can now. From memory, the action really felt good (as others have reported here). The concept with the soundboard is really convincing, and I like the hidden controls. I honestly don't remember how I found the sound at that time, and haven't tested for looping, sustain test, general playability etc. I like the Musik Schmidt video - it sounds great there. There's less choice of extra sounds than on other high end DP's and if I remember correctly, I didn't really like the harpsichord + organ sounds (a bit too artificial compared to the Yamahas and Rolands).

    Please take my comments with the necessary grain of salt - I don't have a complete overview of the market situation, nor am I accomplished enough to detect all subtle differences between the DP's. And of course, I only report personal preferences.

    @cruelstrings: no harm done, the 'spam' lights go on all too often on the web (much less on these forums, though), and rightly so - I sincerely hope no one on these forums buys (or doesn't!) a particular DP or brand based on a single opinion, rave review or heavy criticism.

    Cheers
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 08:24 AM

    Nachtschatten, CA111 is old, the CA63 and CA93 have a new really inspiring piano sound, I like it very much, and I had the opportunity to test drive both CA51 (sound is the same as CA111) and the CA63. Also the RM3 is a real improvement over the already great keyboard action of CA111. Regarding the sustain test: Here Kawai still fails heavily, which I do not understand at all since it should be quite simple to get this done right.

    These are the limitations / flaws I identified with CA63:

    1) Crackling / polyphonic flaw
    --> corrected in the most current firmware!

    2) Sustain test failed!
    --> This definitely needs to be fixed since I can hear it on some of my songs!

    3) Volume of reverb effect not adjustable.
    --> It would be very nice if the effect strength would be adjustable (like it is possible for the other effects like chorus, wahwah etc.)

    4) It seems that damper resonance and string resonance is still not recorded when DP is played using external MIDI data
    --> Needs to be fixed!

    5) No silent keypress possible. There is always a sound produced even if you press down a key extremely soft
    --> Should be fixed, although not such a big deal (for me)!

    6) Key off samples are very subtle, and when you hear them (with setting 10/10), not very convincing
    --> not a big deal, neglectible

    7) String resonance is very nice, but after pressing about 10 keys (I didn't actually count the number) in a serial order to produce resonance, the production of a string resonance sound suddenly stops. You have to raise the key and press it down again so that resonance is again working
    --> This is a more academic problem, since you would only in extreme songs press so many keys to produce string resonance. Neglectible

    8) Another string resonance issue: The very high notes which are not dampered at all also produce string resonance when depressed. This is not like a real acoustic, because all of these high notes should be resonate when a key is pressed, because they are not dampered all the time
    --> Nice to have, but neglectible

    9) I don't know if this is possible , but this would be really great: The sustain time of all keys is too short, this should be at least 25-50% longer, that would be perfect! Even better would be to have a dedicated adjustment like "sustain length" that can be adjusted from 1-10 (whereas 5 is like current setting)
    --> VERY nice to have!!

    Other than that I really love my CA63, and I'm playing the piano with great joy!
    Posted by: jbx

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 08:36 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    However, based on reputation, I would not buy one from van Urk in Rotterdam


    To be honest, my information about their reputation is very outdated (several decades old!), so maybe you are right. However, I think, just to try the CA63, it doesn't really matter what their reputation is... you probably have already more knowledge about DPs then most salespersons and if you don't like their service, price or reputation, you just use them to audition the DP only and buy it somewhere else wink
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/08/10 07:16 PM

    kawaian, thank you for posting this list - some interesting suggestions there.

    As noted previously, if you believe there are serious issues with the CA93/CA63 that need to be resolved, please feel free to send me a PM.

    Kind regards,
    James
    x
    Posted by: Nguyen

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/10/10 01:20 PM

    Is it normal to hear the Piano goes out of tuned then back in tuned with pedal down? Last night I was practicing and there’s a portion of the piece with G chord duration of 3 syncopated whole notes with pedal down. Well, when I struck the chord and pedal depressed, I could clearly hear the chord went out of tuned for a second or split second, then back into tuned. It bothered me for awhile but then I thought, maybe that’s how it is on an acoustic with strings?

    I must say I’m inexperienced and have only practiced for almost a year on an old Viscount. I never heard this before on the Viscount. Is this how it is on an acoustic? Or is something not quite right with my DP?
    Posted by: ChrisA

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/10/10 01:42 PM

    Originally Posted By: Nguyen
    Is it normal to hear the Piano goes out of tuned then back in tuned with pedal down? Last night I was practicing and there’s a portion of the piece with G chord duration of 3 syncopated whole notes with pedal down. Well, when I strike the chord and pedal depressed, I could clearly hear the chord goes out of tuned for a second or split second, then back into tuned. It bothered me for awhile but then I thought, maybe that’s how it is on an acoustic with strings?

    I must say I’m inexperienced and have only practiced for almost a year on an old Viscount. I never heard this before on the Viscount. Is this how it is on an acoustic? Or is something not quite right with my DP?


    I'm not the expert but I think this is how it works...

    I think on an acoustic piano if the pedal is down and you play a C. Other strings will also ring, certainly the other Cs will, but I think any string that shares a harmonic overtone with the C you played will as well. As your C decays in sustain it become more "pure" with fewer overtones and therefore excites fewer unrelated notes.

    So I think it is not in/out of tune but you hear at first many unrelated notes.

    Also there is a slight effect on any stringed instrument that if you pluck, hammer, pick or strum a string you just have to increase the tension on it in order to play it. Then as it rings the tension goes back. You can really notice this effect on a guitar if you have an electronic tuner. But I doubt this is what you heard
    Posted by: sullivang

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/10/10 02:39 PM

    It could also be due to voice overlapping with the sustain pedal down. In order to create the slight "swelling", and the subtle change of timbre between successive notes, it is probably allowing previously struck notes to continue to sound. So, it is, in effect, playing simultaneous recordings of the same note, played at different times. If the pitch of the notes changes over time (which can happen - I think the notes typically start off a bit sharp, and then fall in pitch - I think this is what Chris is saying), you will hear the slight "beating" between the different notes.

    Obviously, this voice overlapping isn't completely authentic. However, it usually works very well IMHO. It is a very simple way for them to enhance the sound with the sustain pedal down.

    If you depress the sustain pedal, and play just ONE chord, does it sound out of tune? If it sounds ok, I feel more confident that the problem is due to the above.

    Greg.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/12/10 07:52 AM

    As mentioned in another thread, the amount of sound coming from the keyboard and action when being played with headphones can be significant enough to keep people from sleeping or even to cause problems with downstairs neighbors.

    It would be very useful to try to take the relative sound produced into account when evaluating different models, especially for those who are buying a digital for reasons of peace in the house.

    Perhaps someone can find a store that is not crazy with noise and use a db(A) meter to measure the relative sound produced?
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/12/10 08:08 AM

    I know what you mean. But this is not necessarily about the noise level in the same room, but with resonances that go through walls and floors. I had my old masterkeyboard upstairs, and people wanted to sleep downstairs. When I played you could hear all the time this annoying "thumb, thumb thumb, thumb...". They could tell exactly what piece of music I was playing... smile
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/12/10 08:14 AM

    Is that when you gave up Prokofiev? smile
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/12/10 08:20 AM

    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    I know what you mean. But this is not necessarily about the noise level in the same room, but with resonances that go through walls and floors.


    Good point, though.
    This kind of "contact sound" can be reduced by de-coupling the piano from the floor with a raised platform on rubber.

    Not sure how we could measure the degree to which a de-coupling already takes place in the relative construction of the instruments.
    Posted by: worov

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/15/10 03:16 AM

    kawaian said :

    Quote:

    These are the limitations / flaws I identified with CA63:

    1) Crackling / polyphonic flaw
    --> corrected in the most current firmware!

    2) Sustain test failed!
    --> This definitely needs to be fixed since I can hear it on some of my songs!

    3) Volume of reverb effect not adjustable.
    --> It would be very nice if the effect strength would be adjustable (like it is possible for the other effects like chorus, wahwah etc.)

    4) It seems that damper resonance and string resonance is still not recorded when DP is played using external MIDI data
    --> Needs to be fixed!

    5) No silent keypress possible. There is always a sound produced even if you press down a key extremely soft
    --> Should be fixed, although not such a big deal (for me)!

    6) Key off samples are very subtle, and when you hear them (with setting 10/10), not very convincing
    --> not a big deal, neglectible

    7) String resonance is very nice, but after pressing about 10 keys (I didn't actually count the number) in a serial order to produce resonance, the production of a string resonance sound suddenly stops. You have to raise the key and press it down again so that resonance is again working
    --> This is a more academic problem, since you would only in extreme songs press so many keys to produce string resonance. Neglectible

    8) Another string resonance issue: The very high notes which are not dampered at all also produce string resonance when depressed. This is not like a real acoustic, because all of these high notes should be resonate when a key is pressed, because they are not dampered all the time
    --> Nice to have, but neglectible

    9) I don't know if this is possible , but this would be really great: The sustain time of all keys is too short, this should be at least 25-50% longer, that would be perfect! Even better would be to have a dedicated adjustment like "sustain length" that can be adjusted from 1-10 (whereas 5 is like current setting)
    --> VERY nice to have!!


    CA-63 and CA-93 are not yet available in France, so I can't try them. Does anyone know if the CA-93 presents the same flaws as the CA-63 ? Has anyone tried them both side by side ?
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/15/10 05:06 AM

    I tried them side by side but did not check for these flaws. But I guess they have exactly the same firmware built in except for some additional sounds of CA-93. Everything else is 100% identical.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/22/10 11:02 AM

    Has anyone been able to compare the CA93 version of the RM3 keyboard with escapement next to the HP-307 versus the CA63 version without?
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/22/10 12:07 PM

    Yes, I did. See my dedicated thread for this specific comparison.

    Im not too much used to escapement because I'm mostly playing acoustic uprights. So the additional escapement of CA93 is not a big deal for me when comparing both of them, but it's noticeable when you play very softly.

    Generally I clearly prefer the action of the CA series.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/22/10 12:23 PM

    I mean anyone besides you, silly. wink
    Posted by: elecmuse3

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/22/10 12:39 PM

    Thanks to all on this topic for being civilized! A breath of enthusiastic fresh air on a smoggy internet.
    Posted by: elecmuse3

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/22/10 12:41 PM

    Oops, meant that for a different thread (but applies here too)!
    Posted by: elecmuse3

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/22/10 12:49 PM

    For thumping noise, whether from Prokofiev or others, has anyone tried the speaker isolation pads sold for recording studio monitors? You would need to lower your stand by the thickness of the pads.

    some quick, NON-ENDORSED googled links:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/251857-REG/Auralex_MOPAD1_MoPAD_Monitor_Isolation.html

    http://www.futureproducers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=199228

    http://www.vibrasystems.com/?EC=Products&CategoryID=11
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/24/10 06:42 AM

    There are a number of complaints that come up from time to time after people have used their digital instruments for a while. These include:

    - hard bottoming out of the key motion causing pain and repeated stress injury
    - keyboard becoming loose or irregular
    - keys becoming very noisy and disruptive for other people
    - keys becoming sluggish or less responsive

    - long exposure to sound leading to evaluation of sound becoming artificial or dead sounding
    - irritating ringing or harsh sound, particularly individual notes or mid-section making practice annoying
    - pedaling and polyphony not acting authentically

    It would be very interesting getting any feedback from Yamaha CLP & AG, Kawai CA and Roland HP users if they have experienced or are experiencing such issues.
    Posted by: AndyT

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/24/10 06:56 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    - irritating ringing or harsh sound, particularly individual notes or mid-section making practice annoying



    - oh yes, my CA63 does that (so I suspect the CA93 does too), see this thread:
    http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1387821

    I've come to get used to it, though every now and again it still stops me in my tracks.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/24/10 10:14 AM

    Here is another direct comparison between the CA93 and the HP307:

    http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1401918.html#Post1401918
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 05:13 AM

    Question for those familiar with both the Kawai and the Roland:

    Is my understanding correct that the Kawai lets you record directly to USB both MIDI and MP3/WAV while the Roland does not?
    Posted by: hpeterh

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 05:52 AM

    It is my understanding that Kawai CA63 and CA93 records MIDI internally and that it is able to render MIDI to MP3 after the recording was finished.
    Now Kawai normally doesnt use string resonances while playing from MIDI or from the internal recorder.
    So it is also interesting if string resonances will be rendered to WAV or to MP3.

    Peter
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 06:14 AM

    CA63/CA93: You can play live and immediately record it to USB in both MP3 and WAV format. All effects will be recorded (WYHIWYR = what you hear is what you record).
    Posted by: hpeterh

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 06:36 AM

    Thanks for the information.
    So far I can see from the manual it asks: "Save to USB?" when the recording is finished.

    So if it records WAV and if it saves afterwards then it must have a lot of internal storage. How much is this? What is the limit of recording capacity?
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 07:21 AM

    I already recorded a WAV file with more than 30 minutes length, I don't think it has that much internal storage capacity, so I guess it stores to USB stick already during recording. But at the end of the recording it asks if you would like to keep the recording, and what name you wnat to choose, so this is more like a finalization or a deletion of the already stored piece.

    There is also not much difference in storing duration regardless of what you answer to the question "save to USB Y/N?".


    Posted by: hpeterh

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 07:42 AM

    Thank you very much.

    Peter
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 07:48 AM

    Can anyone confirm that what Kawaian confirmed for the Kawai is NOT possible on the Roland?
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 09:02 AM

    Yes, kawaian is correct. The MP3/WAV recorder saves the audio to a temporary file on the USB device, which is then (re)named accordingly following the user's input.

    With the current software it is not possible to convert a MIDI file to WAV/MP3, however songs stored in the internal recorder (i.e. user songs) can be converted.

    Cheers,
    James
    x
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 09:12 AM

    James, to be more precise, it's not possible to store the MIDI data that is received by MIDI-In directly to an MP3/WAV.
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 09:33 AM

    kawaian, I was actually referring to MIDI files stored on the USB device, rather than data received from from MIDI-IN.

    Indeed, I haven't actually tested the method that you're proposing - can you confirm whether or not this works?

    Cheers,
    James
    x
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 10:24 AM

    Okay, understood!

    I guess I misstated something in my former post: It's of course possible to record MIDI-In data, but it's not (yet) possible to convert a MIDI-File that is stored on an external USB device to MP3/WAV. Sorry for the confusion! What you've stated in your last post is 100% correct!
    Posted by: hpeterh

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/26/10 11:20 AM

    Isnt it possible to load the MIDI into the recorder and then render it?

    I believe it is understandable, if it cannot read and write 2 files from and to the USB stick at the same time.

    I personally would not think that is a problem that needs fixing. It should also be possible to play the MIDI with PC software and route the MIDI stream to the piano...

    Edit:
    Ok, string resonance will probably missing in that case.

    I never understood this and I was shocked when I discovered it with my CP136. I would not have been surprised to see something like this on a cheapo Taiwan noname product..
    But obviously all Kawais suffer from this.
    Posted by: worov

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/29/10 02:00 PM

    Does anyone know when the Kawai CA-63 and CA-93 will be available in France ? I'm from Paris and I haven't tried those instruments yet. James, are you aware of a release date ?
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/29/10 02:43 PM

    You are going to have to put in some real personal effort if you want to audition the Kawai dps in Western Europe.
    Kawai has some of the worst retail distribution in the industry.
    There are places that sell them already in France if you look hard enough.
    The problem is finding a place that stocks them so you can audition one.


    http://www.musicpromusic.com/boutique/in...=1&Itemid=1
    http://www.francepianos.com/pn/kawai_ca63.htm
    http://www.thomann.de/fr/kawai_ca63_r.htm
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/29/10 07:54 PM

    worov, the official distributor for KAWAI acoustic and digital pianos throughout France is Hohner SA. If you wish to play-test the new CA93/CA63 models in Paris, my recommendation would be to contact Hohner to enquire about availability at your local dealer.

    http://www.kawaifr.com/contact.asp

    Kind regards,
    James
    x
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/31/10 03:05 AM

    Here's my Top 3 (or should I say 7) for playing at moderate to high volumes (no headphones):

    1. Yamaha AvantGrand / Kawai CA 93
    2. Yamaha CVP 409 / CVP 509 (slightly changed, a bit bright?)
    3. Kawai CA 63 / Yamaha CLP 380 / Roland HP 307

    Motivation:
    The combination of action and sound is just great on the CA63 up to moderate volumes! For higher volumes and for getting a real experience, I definitely prefer the soundboard system of the CA93, so I ordered one which will arrive shortly.

    Actually, based on the technical specifications (or should I say marketing material), I originally wanted to buy a Roland HP 307, but I was very disappointed after testdriving it for about one and a half hour. The speaker system is not balanced properly; it does have a heavy bass, but the higher frequencies sound extremely harsh and digital (yes, I've read topics on this forum about this). After going through all the settings myself, trying to get it right, I asked for the guy at the music store to assist, but the result was still quite unsatisfactory to my ears. The samples are way too clean to be realistic. For reference, I then tried several Yamaha DP's including the CLP 380, but in the end I only found the CVP 409(/509) acceptable for quality (not for price, too expensive). I didn't get to play one of the AvantGrand models live, but based on what I heard and saw before, I wanted to list them here anyway (price is way out of my league).

    Have fun playing your DP!
    Arjan
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/31/10 03:36 AM

    Interesting.

    I am familiar with the Kawai Anytime silent system for acoustics but remain unconvinced compared to the Yamaha factory silent. Am also familiar with Yamaha's AvantGrand digital pianos with the four-channel acoustic space sampling, the multiple speaker system, the transducer and soundboard resonator system and tactile response system transferring realistic vibrations to the player and using its authentic, real grand piano action based on an actual C3 functional grand piano action. Do you mean the AvantGrand?

    I would be very interested to actually audition a CA93 side by side with an AvantGrand to experience the effect you refer to leading you to rate them at the same level in your evaluation for play through the internal speaker system. Kawai must have made some serious improvements to their system from the old CA91 to today's CA93 model!

    Can anyone contrast the CA93 with the previous CA91 for us here?

    Arjan, don't forget to update this thread: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1406280/18.html
    And keep us up to date with your ownership experience of Kawai's much anticipated top of the line model!~
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/31/10 04:07 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    I would be very interested to actually audition a CA93 side by side with an AvantGrand to experience the effect you refer to leading you to rate them at the same level in your evaluation for play through the internal speaker system.


    I just used your Top 3 template, but as mentioned it is actually a Top 7. By the way, is it true that Kawai licensed their soundboard technology to Yamaha?
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/31/10 04:21 AM

    Originally Posted By: Arjan
    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    I would be very interested to actually audition a CA93 side by side with an AvantGrand to experience the effect you refer to leading you to rate them at the same level in your evaluation for play through the internal speaker system.


    I just used your Top 3 template, but as mentioned it is actually a Top 7. By the way, is it true that Kawai licensed their soundboard technology to Yamaha?


    I don't know, but I would like to know.
    Do you have a link you could share?
    They were after all the first to do so.
    The plot thickens?
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 03/31/10 05:18 AM

    Here are some Kawai soundboard technology related patents: nr 7459615, US20070289428 & US20080127798 (documents can be viewed with patents.com, freepatentsonline or a similar website).
    Posted by: worov

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/03/10 09:00 AM

    I have found a store in Paris for CA-63. No CA-93 yet. I'm going to try it next Tuesday or Thursday. Here's the website of the store :

    http://www.centre-chopin.com/fiches-numerique.php?$=25

    Thank you for your answer, James.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/03/10 10:39 AM

    Keep us up to date on how your search and auditioning goes!
    Posted by: Technocube

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/09/10 06:22 PM

    Hi there. I'm new to the digital piano world. I am used to playing a grand (Yahama C3) but I need a silent digital (ie headphoned) for evening practise. Not overly concerned about the sound since I do have an acoustic - it's all about the action. My question is:Which models of digital pianos use an actual hammer action using a gravity return hammer as in my grand? I know the Kawai CA93/63 do, as do the Yamaha AvantGrand. Are there any other makes? Do Roland do one (does the HP307 use an actual gravity return hammer?). My budget is $5000 for a digital instrument that closest emulates the action of my C3 grand (I can't afford the AvantGrand) - no opinons please , just scientific facts :-) ie key length, hammer weight, repetition. Thanks very much
    Posted by: Volusiano

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/09/10 09:48 PM

    Maybe you can look for an old Yamaha Disclavier GranTouch models like the GT1 or GT2. I've seen a few used one for sale around your budget price. They do have the traditional grand action with the hammer heads and everything, so they should feel pretty real.
    Posted by: sullivang

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/09/10 10:43 PM

    I think that you'd be hard pressed to find a dedicated digital piano that is currently selling that does NOT have a "gravity return" hammer action these days. The one that comes to mind that does not have a hammer action is the Yamaha NP30, but this is a portable, lightweight piano that is NOTHING like the instruments you would be considering.

    Yes, it's my understanding that the HP307 has a "gravity return" hammer action. Something that sets this one apart from most other Rolands is that it has repetition lever simulation, by virtue of the triple-sensor action. (PHAIII) The only other Roland with this identical action is the V-Piano. There are other Rolands with a very similar (if not identical?) feel but without the repetition lever function. (this is the PHAII action)

    Greg.
    Posted by: bkmz

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/10/10 10:10 AM

    Originally Posted By: TADutchman
    I then tried several Yamaha DP's including the CLP 380, but in the end I only found the CVP 409(/509) acceptable for quality (not for price, too expensive).


    I'm curious - what makes CVP509 better than CLP380, can you describe? Because the specs are the same.
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/10/10 12:57 PM

    Taken from the spec. sheet of Yamaha, here you can see the similarities and differences with respect to the speaker set-up:

    CVP 409 Amplifiers and Speakers
    Amplifiers 60W x 2 + 20W x 2
    Speakers (16cm + 5cm + 3cm (dome)) x 2 + 10cm x 2

    CLP380 Amplifiers and Speakers
    Amplifiers 35W x 2 + 20W x 2 + 20W x 2 + 12W x 2
    Speakers 16cm x 2, 2.5cm (DOME) x 2, 8cm x 4

    CVP509 Amplifiers and Speakers
    Amplifiers (35W + 20W + 20W) x 2 + 20W x 2
    Speakers (16cm + 5cm + 3cm (dome)) x 2 + 10cm x 2 [(6 5/16" + 1 15/16" +1 3/16" (dome) x 2 + 3 15/16" x 2]

    Actually, I even slightly preferred (subjective) the piano sound of the CVP409 over the CVP509 (a little too bright, maybe the settings were different in the music store?), although the technical specs. of the latter appear to be better...
    Posted by: Melodialworks Music

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/10/10 02:28 PM

    Originally Posted By: TADutchman

    Actually, I even slightly preferred (subjective) the piano sound of the CVP409 over the CVP509 (a little too bright, maybe the settings were different in the music store?)


    The first thing you should ALWAYS do when auditioning a DP or keyboard in a music store is do a factory reset. (Download the manual ahead of time, and go armed with the instructions of how to do this). It typically is just a few button presses.

    I can't believe how many folks get the wrong impression of an instrument, because it has been left 'messed up' by a previous user.

    Lawrence
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/10/10 04:57 PM

    That's right in case you know on forehand what DP models you get to try out.

    Factory settings can have a different effect of course in case of differences in samples, amplifier and speakers between models -> better use headphones first to eliminate some of these variables.
    Posted by: worov

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 04/12/10 03:42 AM

    I have been to this piano dealer :
    http://www.centre-chopin.com/fiches-numerique.php?$=25.

    The website mentions CA-63. So I went to the store to try it. The dealer told : "We don't have now. It will be here in the next two weeks.

    The dealer told me that CA-93 will not be available. He doesn't think there is so much difference between the two models.

    However I tried the Roland HP307. The sound is good. However I'm disppointed with the touch. Not heavy enough for me. It doesn't feel realistic to me. To me, the keyboard is more important than the sound (though I can agree this is a very personnal statement).


    I'll come back later to tell about my impressions for the CA-63.
    Posted by: dim

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 07/14/10 09:11 AM

    so which is better? CA93, HP307 or CLP380??
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 07/14/10 09:30 AM

    That highly depends on who you talk with!

    I'm quoting myself here: wink
    "Just pick the one that's best according to your own ears and fingers (at the music store you could let them adjust touch settings and piano sound according to your preferences).

    Be sure to use both the in-built speakers (at moderate to high volumes) and your own headphones."
    Posted by: franz_liszt82

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 09/26/10 04:43 PM

    Hi worov. So, did you buy the ca 63? Do you like it?
    Posted by: FishTako

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/01/10 11:09 PM

    Nothing beats spending a few hours on each to make a proper comparison.

    Over the last 2 weeks I've spend nearly 15 hours playing on the following at 5 separate dealers:

    V-piano, HP 307, CP-1, CP 308, AvantGrand N-3, YU5 Silent Piano, CA-93, CA-63.

    After much consideration, I'm torn between the CA-93 and the HP-307 and here's my overall impression on both. The CP 380 fell out of consideration (I couldn't find a dealer that had the CP380/370 in stock but I played on both a CP-1 and a CP308 (has the same key action so I'm told). I dislike the action on both.

    CA-93 / CA-63
    Pros:
    It has in my opinion the best action in 3-4k price range and allows for extreme control in terms of dynamic range. It was able to capture many subtle variations of pianissimo. They were a joy to play. You'll likely want to set the Touch to Heavy. The default setting of Normal touch didn't quite feel right to me.

    While there seems to be some debate on whether the soundboard contributes to the sound quality of this instrument, I can say the CA-93 sounds very nice. When compared directly to the CA-63 at volume level 6+ on the Concert Grand the CA-93 feels much richer to me. The lower range in particular outperformed the CA-63. Whether this is a result of the soundboard or the placement of the speakers I really have no idea. With the headset, both instruments sound identical.

    Cons:
    Not all instruments are created equal. I played two different CA-63s and the sound on some of the upper range notes was very bell-like and harsh on the Concert Grand patch on one and much more mellow on the other. This occurred even after I had reset both to factory default settings. My only guess is that this may have to do with the action on a couple of the keys as I tested it playing slow scales across the affected notes and it seemed like they were a bit more sensitive than their neighbors. This was noticeable with or without headphones so it isn't a speaker thing.

    Personally, I don't like the control console on the left. I prefer the more traditional layout with the controls easily reachable just above the keys.

    2 Track record only? This might not sound like a big deal, but it does make a slight difference.

    HP 307
    Pros:
    Default Grand Concert sounds better than both the CA-63 and CA-93 when wearing headphones. Specifically, I think the HP 307 sounds nicer in the high range.

    The 307 sounds slightly richer than the CA-63 without headphones but I'd give the edge to the CA-93 when playing without headphones at volumes 6-7 (there is no contest when comparing notes in the low range CA-93 wins hands-down).

    Texture of the keys is very nice to touch. Action is good but a bit on the 'bouncy' side.

    More pronounced 'Escapement' feel than on the CA-93. I don't really care much for this feature but my mom, swears by it. She absolutely loves the escapement click.

    Controller interface felt a bit more intuitive than the CAs and I prefer the top layout.

    Cons:
    Thumping. The keys really thump when you depress them. This is much less of an issue when playing with headphones.

    Here are my overall rankings:

    Key Action:
    CA-93 9 out of 10
    CA-63 8.9 out of 10 (.1 for lack of escapement)
    HP 307 8 out of 10

    Sound w/Headphones:
    HP 307 7.5 out of 10
    CA-93/CA-63 7 out of 10

    Sound (built in speakers)
    CA-93 8 out of 10
    HP 307 7 out of 10
    CA-63 6.5 out of 10

    Interface:
    HP 307 8 out of 10
    CA-93/CA-63 6 out of 10
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/01/10 11:27 PM

    FishTako,

    Thank you for posting your experiences - it's clear that you are torn between the HP-307 and CA93. However, without wishing to complicate matters further, have you considered the LX-10F (HP-307 with partially ebony polish cabinet and improved speakers)?

    I do not know why two different CA63 instruments should not sound identical, especially after performing a factory reset - were you listening using headphones, or was this the speaker output?

    Quote:
    I played on both a CP-1 and a CP308 (has the same key action so I'm told). I dislike the action on both.


    This is not quite correct. The CP1/CP5 utilise a new action called 'NW Stage', which is ungraded (all 88 keys are the same weight) and arguably geared towards electric piano playing. The CLPS-308 however does use the 'NW' keyboard action, which should be the same as the CLP370/CLP380.

    Anyway, good luck finalising your decision! Both the Roland and Kawai are superb digital pianos, so I'm confident that you will be very happy with either instrument.

    Cheers,
    James
    x
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/02/10 03:23 AM

    Originally Posted By: FishTako

    Sound w/Headphones:
    HP 307 7.5 out of 10
    CA-93/CA-63 7 out of 10

    Sound (built in speakers)
    CA-93 8 out of 10
    HP 307 7 out of 10
    CA-63 6.5 out of 10

    Hi FishTako,
    I respect your personal comparison, opinion and preferences related to the factory Concert Grand sounds in single voice mode. whistle

    Now, based on this, let's take the next step in boosting sound quality and dynamics by entering the advanced dual voice mode for acoustic piano voices (CA93/CA63 only): cool

    'Enhancing the default settings of Kawai CA63 and CA93 digital piano'
    http://www.attacca.eu/images/settings_CA63_93.pdf
    Posted by: dewster

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/02/10 11:41 AM

    Originally Posted By: TADutchman
    ... let's take the next step in boosting sound quality and dynamics by entering the advanced dual voice mode ...

    Lightspeed is too slow, we're going to have to go right to Ludicrous Speed!

    Posted by: LarryShone

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/02/10 11:54 AM

    Originally Posted By: Melodialworks Music


    The first thing you should ALWAYS do when auditioning a DP or keyboard in a music store is do a factory reset. (Download the manual ahead of time, and go armed with the instructions of how to do this). It typically is just a few button presses.

    I can't believe how many folks get the wrong impression of an instrument, because it has been left 'messed up' by a previous user.

    Lawrence

    Thats an interesting point, and something I would never have thought of! But I wonder how the owner of the music shop in the town would feel if I asked if I could do a Factory Reset on one of their keyboards!
    Posted by: dewster

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/02/10 12:20 PM

    Originally Posted By: LarryShone
    ... I wonder how the owner of the music shop in the town would feel if I asked if I could do a Factory Reset on one of their keyboards!

    I wouldn't ask in the first place. And if they thought about it at all they'd probably thank you for doing so - all the random button pressing going on can leave them in weird states, and confuse people who are demoing them.
    Posted by: FishTako

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/02/10 05:20 PM

    Originally Posted By: Kawai James
    FishTako,

    Thank you for posting your experiences - it's clear that you are torn between the HP-307 and CA93. However, without wishing to complicate matters further, have you considered the LX-10F (HP-307 with partially ebony polish cabinet and improved speakers)?

    I do not know why two different CA63 instruments should not sound identical, especially after performing a factory reset - were you listening using headphones, or was this the speaker output?

    Quote:
    I played on both a CP-1 and a CP308 (has the same key action so I'm told). I dislike the action on both.


    This is not quite correct. The CP1/CP5 utilise a new action called 'NW Stage', which is ungraded (all 88 keys are the same weight) and arguably geared towards electric piano playing. The CLPS-308 however does use the 'NW' keyboard action, which should be the same as the CLP370/CLP380.

    Anyway, good luck finalising your decision! Both the Roland and Kawai are superb digital pianos, so I'm confident that you will be very happy with either instrument.

    Cheers,
    James
    x


    Thank you for the clarifications on the CP1 and CLPS-308. With all the keyboards out there, it gets hard to keep them all straight and organized in your head!

    I did have a brief chance to try the LX-10F but the salesperson mentioned it had the same speaker set up as the HP 307 so I didn't really consider it given that the finish is not a factor for me.

    In regards to the differing CA63s, I did notice the sound difference both with speakers and headphones which is why I thought it may have to do with sensitivity on a few keys. My mom had a similar impression. She didn't like the first CA63 and when we went to the second, she was surprised when I told her it was the same model she played earlier.
    Posted by: FishTako

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/02/10 05:23 PM

    Originally Posted By: TADutchman
    Originally Posted By: FishTako

    Sound w/Headphones:
    HP 307 7.5 out of 10
    CA-93/CA-63 7 out of 10

    Sound (built in speakers)
    CA-93 8 out of 10
    HP 307 7 out of 10
    CA-63 6.5 out of 10

    Hi FishTako,
    I respect your personal comparison, opinion and preferences related to the factory Concert Grand sounds in single voice mode. whistle

    Now, based on this, let's take the next step in boosting sound quality and dynamics by entering the advanced dual voice mode for acoustic piano voices (CA93/CA63 only): cool

    'Enhancing the default settings of Kawai CA63 and CA93 digital piano'
    http://www.attacca.eu/images/settings_CA63_93.pdf


    Thanks for the link. It looks like you've done an impressive amount of work sampling with the dual layered sound feature. I have to admit I didn't play with that much when at the store and will likely need to make another test run to finalize my decision.
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/03/10 02:32 AM

    Originally Posted By: FishTako
    Thanks for the link. It looks like you've done an impressive amount of work sampling with the dual layered sound feature.

    You're welcome, thanks for your thoughts. thumb

    The CA93/CA63's sound shaping potential is huge; the list of different piano and other timbres will keep on growing, also based on user/owner input. You're invited to post your related insights here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1448603
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/03/10 03:31 AM

    Originally Posted By: FishTako

    I did have a brief chance to try the LX-10F but the salesperson mentioned it had the same speaker set up as the HP 307 so I didn't really consider it given that the finish is not a factor for me.


    Actually the "speaker set up" is not the same in the LX-10F and the HP-307 as you or the "professional salesperson" could see by simply examining the actual specifications.

    http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=1076#
    http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=1055

    The LX-10F has six speakers compared to the four of the HP-307 and due to placement of some in the upper cabinet of the "upright" they also give a more realistic and defined sound projection on the LX-10F.

    The LX-10F not only has a different finish but a much different appearing, stark, modern, upright piano design look including having a proper soft-fall keyboard cover rather than a flimsy, sloping slidey thing as on the HP-307 and Kawai CA-63. It also has an extra wide and deep music desk when open reminiscent of a grand piano or very high end upright.
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/03/10 05:35 AM

    Is that LX-10F the same model that's being advertised together with a separate Yamaha subwoofer (if I recall correctly)?
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/03/10 06:05 AM

    Originally Posted By: TADutchman
    Is that LX-10F the same model that's being advertised together with a separate Yamaha subwoofer (if I recall correctly)?


    Yes. By one of those American websites that creates discounted bundles for lots of what they sell including the LX-10F but that apparently don't think that the Kawai CA cabinet pianos are worth selling at all.

    http://kraftmusic.com/catalog/keyboards/weightedactionkeyboards/8081
    http://kraftmusic.com/catalog/keyboards/weightedactionkeyboards/index.asp?brand=27
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 07:29 AM

    The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread, right? grin
    http://wn.com/Kawai_part1
    Posted by: hpeterh

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 07:58 AM


    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 08:30 AM

    ...the Roland LX10F is double the price than a KAWAI CA63, and even 1.200 Euro more expensive than a Kawai CA93. You have to decide for yourself if this is worth it and you have the extra money available... an Alternative would be the (not yet released) successor of the KAWAI CA111.
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 08:42 AM

    Especially that second video footage is very funny, hpeterh! shocked laugh grin

    Can't resist: I do wonder whether Kawai is paying their employees enough...
    ... if you feed'em peanuts, you get monkeys. wink (no pun intended)
    Posted by: Belger1900

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 09:57 AM

    Originally Posted By: mucci
    ...an Alternative would be the (not yet released) successor of the KAWAI CA111.


    Where did you get that information?? Sounds too good to be true. A new CA-111 with the RM-3 Keyboard shocked

    By the way, speaking of speaker systems. Do the speakers need some time to "run in" like headphones do??
    Posted by: Csillag

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 10:01 AM

    Originally Posted By: Belger1900
    Originally Posted By: mucci
    ...an Alternative would be the (not yet released) successor of the KAWAI CA111.


    Where did you get that information?? Sounds too good to be true. A new CA-111 with the RM-3 Keyboard shocked


    Kawai James mentioned that he would _hope_ that there would be such instument once. Please do not read more into this than what's intended; he specifically stated that currenty there is no such product in the works; it's not in any way announced, maybe not even decided on, or planned at all.

    It's just a logical next step, which he would love to see.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 11:03 AM

    Originally Posted By: Csillag

    It's just a logical next step, which he would love to see.


    This is exactly what I intended to say!
    Sorry it was not my intention to cause any confusion.
    Posted by: Csillag

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 11:16 AM

    Originally Posted By: mucci
    Originally Posted By: Csillag

    It's just a logical next step, which he would love to see.


    This is exactly what I intended to say!
    Sorry it was not my intention to cause any confusion.


    And it was not my intent to imply that your words caused confusion: I just wanted to be extra-careful not to give something into Kawai James's mouth which he did not say.

    (He always insists that it's not his decision to announce new models; I would hate to see him reprimanded by his bosses based on rumors spreading on the forums, especially when he is always careful not to say more than allowed to. So we should also take care to quote him accurately.)
    Posted by: MarcoM

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 11:26 AM

    Originally Posted By: mucci
    ...the Roland LX10F is double the price than a KAWAI CA63, and even 1.200 Euro more expensive than a Kawai CA93. You have to decide for yourself if this is worth it and you have the extra money available...


    it really depends from where you live: over here the street prices of Kawai digitals are a lot higher (in MSRP % terms) than Roland's, it really depends from your local stores. Of course this is not applicable in Europe given Thomann etc.
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 02:28 PM

    Originally Posted By: mucci
    ...the Roland LX10F is double the price than a KAWAI CA63, and even 1.200 Euro more expensive than a Kawai CA93. You have to decide for yourself if this is worth it and you have the extra money available... an Alternative would be the (not yet released) successor of the KAWAI CA111.


    A competitively priced successor to the CA111 would be very interesting. It is a real cabinet compared to the LX-10F.

    When comparing prices, you really need to compare actual quotes for the instruments. No one pays list price ( I hope !)

    The best quotes I have for the two instruments are:

    LX-10F 3300,
    CA93 2960,

    making the difference in price only 340 which is a small price to pay to have an instrument with a nice and realistic piano sound that doesn't require you to buy a PC and a software package like Pianoteq or Galaxy like we see from various of the owners of the Kawai instruments posting here which easily could add 500 euros or more to the price of the CA93.
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 03:57 PM

    Hahaha, almost clever, you seem to be somewhat frustrated, the Journey. Is Kawai selling too many products in 2010 or what is it? It could be even more if they had proper marketing like Roland or Yamaha, right? grin wink

    Seriously, whether you or me like it or not, these hardware products are quite close competitors in performance. An interesting addition, which you noticed before about the LX-10F, is: "By the way, it is interesting that Kraft is suggesting to bundle an expensive Yamaha sub-woofer with the piano...don't see any retailers of the Kawai CA93 suggesting that the instrument needs more support in the bass department."
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 05:19 PM

    Well, to be honest I don't see any dealers other than this one US company (that loves to put together big bundles of stuff with high margins to try to make better deals) doing so.

    I agree though that it is interesting. Not quite as interesting as the fact that almost no dealers around these parts are choosing to sell the Kawai instruments full stop, with or without an expensive sub-woofer...

    By the way, what is the frequency response on your CA93 transducer driven soundboard compared to the Yamaha subwoofer? You might want to consider getting an HS10W yourself. smile

    Have finally found a dealer within theoretical striking distance that has a HP-307, LX-10F, CA93, CA63 and K5ATX all on the floor for comparison. Now just to find the moment to spend a whole day journeying with my trusty Sennheisers to the German border...

    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/04/10 05:39 PM

    By the way, check out the new Tom & Sean TV show on the Kawai US site...Tom's southern articulation is pretty hard to follow and Sean looks like he must have really tied one on the night before at the local Irish Pub before the video was filmed, but they have joined the video generation.

    http://www.kawaius.com/main_links/digital/CA_2010/ca93_demovid-overview-1.html

    Can't wait to see what our German friends at Kawai Europe come up with as they in turn re-invent the wheel...
    Posted by: dewster

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 12:09 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    By the way, check out the new Tom & Sean TV show on the Kawai US site...Tom's southern articulation is pretty hard to follow and Sean looks like he must have really tied one on the night before at the local Irish Pub before the video was filmed, but they have joined the video generation.

    I think the baggy eyes are a genetic thing with Sean, and Tom's accent doesn't sound at too pronounced to me, though I spent much of my formative youth in the south, so I'm probably rather immune.

    But I can't tell much difference between the three "different" pianos in the demo. And the harpsichord sounds kind of thin. And the strings sound kind of lame.

    Not a lot to get excited over lately it seems.
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 02:26 AM

    Originally Posted By: dewster
    But I can't tell much difference between the three "different" pianos in the demo.

    I noticed the same, quite a lame playback i.m.h.o. (and I'm not referring to the MP3 decoder); they could also use some custom settings in dual voice mode, demonstrating the Virtual Technician in action. wink whistle

    Slightly better recordings are these ones (up to 1080p):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOJ8fmLVbUk&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01K7KNse1dc&feature=related



    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 03:23 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Have finally found a dealer within theoretical striking distance that has a HP-307, LX-10F, CA93, CA63 and K5ATX all on the floor for comparison. Now just to find the moment to spend a whole day journeying with my trusty Sennheisers to the German border...

    Well, that's nothing new. By the way, I had a talk with the owner of Vriese Music Palace (Doetinchem) somewhere back in February this year. He had visited the Winter NAMM and played the CA93 over there, which he described in his experience as very exciting and if he had to compare it with something, the AvantGrand came to mind. Send him my regards, will you?
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 03:31 AM

    Originally Posted By: TADutchman
    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Have finally found a dealer within theoretical striking distance that has a HP-307, LX-10F, CA93, CA63 and K5ATX all on the floor for comparison. Now just to find the moment to spend a whole day journeying with my trusty Sennheisers to the German border...

    Well, that's nothing new. By the way, I had a talk with the owner of Vriese Music Palace (Doetinchem) somewhere back in February this year. He had visited the Winter NAMM and played the CA93 over there, which he described in his experience as very exciting and if he had to compare it with something, the AvantGrand came to mind. Send him my regards, will you?

    thumb
    Posted by: Kawai James

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 03:41 AM

    ...and if the store stocks Yamaha instruments, may I also suggest you take a very good look at the sales display models for both the 'NW' and 'RM3 Grand' actions.

    Cheers,
    James
    x
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 08:19 AM

    theJourney, I'm really looking forward to your review after the visit, although, considering your recent comments about KAWAI in this and other threads, it doesn't make me confident that the review will be unbiased... but let's see! wink
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 08:29 AM

    Biased? Yeah, I suppose I am, Kawaien, er, um mucci.
    After all: Kawai is the only brand of real piano I own:

    A day doesn't go by that I don't play Kawai...

    However, just because a manufacturer builds IMO one of the best and best value real acoustic pianos on the market, doesn't mean that they automatically also build the best or best value fake pianos. I hope they all (Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Korg, Casio, et al) keep pushing the envelope and competing earnestly so that we all can enjoy the benefits of improved realism and utility!
    Posted by: LarryShone

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 08:42 AM

    Had a look at that AvantGrand, and while I admire the technology I'm not sure I see the point of it! I mean its the size of a grand and sounds like a grand, so why not get an acoustic grand! Unfortunately I can't hear how it sounds as our sound card has gone belly up-summat to do with the AC97 doo dah.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 10:01 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    However, just because a manufacturer builds IMO one of the best and best value real acoustic pianos on the market, doesn't mean that they automatically also build the best or best value fake pianos.


    I never ever claimed that. Or what is your point? I don't get it.

    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    I hope they all (Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Korg, Casio, et al) keep pushing the envelope and competing earnestly so that we all can enjoy the benefits of improved realism and utility!


    Any signs that this is not the case? You're the one that accuses (or at least denotes) namely KAWAI to do needless features (like wooden keys) just for marketing reasons, and, on the other side, purposely omit features from cheaper models, again just for marketing purposes (which is obviously something that all brands do).

    Even though you claim you're playing on an acoustic KAWAI grand, I somehow have the feeling, that there must have been a special experience that keeps you so distant from KAWAI DPs. I have no idea what this might be... maybe some bad experience with specific salespersons in the past, or just the plain fact that there is no possibility to try and purchase a KAWAI DP nearby, or just the sheer joy of arguing and getting replies from alleged KAWAI fanboys, who knows. Anyway, as Kawai James has stated on several occasions (or at least similar to his statement) - it's always a pleasure to read your posts (and to be amused by them since most of them meet my expectations).

    wink
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 10:27 AM

    Originally Posted By: mucci
    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    However, just because a manufacturer builds IMO one of the best and best value real acoustic pianos on the market, doesn't mean that they automatically also build the best or best value fake pianos.


    I never ever claimed that. Or what is your point? I don't get it.

    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    I hope they all (Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Korg, Casio, et al) keep pushing the envelope and competing earnestly so that we all can enjoy the benefits of improved realism and utility!


    Any signs that this is not the case? You're the one that accuses (or at least denotes) namely KAWAI to do needless features (like wooden keys) just for marketing reasons, and, on the other side, purposely omit features from cheaper models, again just for marketing purposes (which is obviously something that all brands do).

    Even though you claim you're playing on an acoustic KAWAI grand, I somehow have the feeling, that there must have been a special experience that keeps you so distant from KAWAI DPs. I have no idea what this might be... maybe some bad experience with specific salespersons in the past, or just the plain fact that there is no possibility to try and purchase a KAWAI DP nearby, or just the sheer joy of arguing and getting replies from alleged KAWAI fanboys, who knows. Anyway, as Kawai James has stated on several occasions (or at least similar to his statement) - it's always a pleasure to read your posts (and to be amused by them since most of them meet my expectations).

    wink


    Still have that aggressive, pro-Kawai chip on your shoulder, eh? You apparently can't imagine anyone having legitimate preferences or judgement that don't match your own, therefore accusing others of traumas or bias and making false claims and then making veiled personal attacks against them. Not very polite, if I might say so, and certainly a violation of the terms of service of pianoworld.

    You really should try to keep an open mind, my friend, while at the same time not taking everything so personally. It is not acceptable to constantly make arguments against the man instead of the subject matter.

    Speaking of subject matter, have you tried TADutchman's promising sounding virtual piano settings or are you still using pianoteq layers to get the sound you are looking for out of your new CA63?
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 11:02 AM

    I don't want to get involved in this ongoing quarrel, but I just imagine you guys looking like this, making it so much more enjoyable to watch!!! laugh wink




    I must admit that a to-the-point answer to this question would be very interesting though (not really important):
    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Speaking of subject matter, have you tried TADutchman's promising sounding virtual piano settings or are you still using pianoteq layers to get the sound you are looking for out of your new CA63?
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 11:18 AM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Still have that aggressive, pro-Kawai chip on your shoulder, eh?


    That's what I expected... I just state openly what I noticed.

    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Speaking of subject matter, have you tried TADutchman's promising sounding virtual piano settings or are you still using pianoteq layers to get the sound you are looking for out of your new CA63?


    Yes, I tested some of the early settings. I finde them quite promising and nice sounding, although not exactly what I was looking for. I love long decay notes, and rich and very realistic resonance effects. TADutchmans settings can't deliver this, e.g. the decay length cannot be changed. Roland SN in some respect goes into the right direction (decay length...), but it's not my taste of piano sound I'm afraid. Maybe I'm too picky here. Still Pianoteq Play and CA63 Concert Grand (over time I made some adjustments) is the perfect companion in "supernatural" piano sound. I now have a dedicated very lightweight and small black Netbook installed behind the shelf (in hibernate mode), cables are connected from behind the piano (very unobstructive). Whenever I like to enjoy my PianoteqKawai (c) sound I just turn the Netbook on. Add this to the (nota bene: in my personal opinion!) superior wooden keyboard action (compared to any other brand I tested in the local store except for N2/N3 of course) it's just perfect!
    Posted by: theJourney

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 12:09 PM

    Interesting. What processor and OS does your netbook have and what are your boot times?
    Posted by: TADutchman

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 12:12 PM

    Originally Posted By: mucci
    Yes, I tested some of the early settings.

    I know you have invested even earlier in Pianoteq software and a netbook also because, quite understandably, you didn't directly recognize the potential of the dual voice mode, but before I'm even willing to discuss an excitement feature like adjustable decay length as a feature request for a future firmware upgrade again (v1.08 perhaps?), which no console DP currently has afaik:

    You are hereby personally invited to start testing some of the more recent dual voice settings with improved timbre and resonances, and supply us with some constructive feedback at the custom settings thread: e.g. the Shigeru Kawai, the Fazioli, the Bösendorfer and the Steinway in their most recent versions. cool

    http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1528451
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 02:05 PM

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Interesting. What processor and OS does your netbook have and what are your boot times?


    ASUS Eee PC 1005HA
    Atom 1.6 Ghz
    2GB RAM
    160GB Harddrive

    I'm using the internal soundcard (with ASIO4all), its of really good quality. I tried my Edirol UA4FX with a custom ASIO driver, a decent USB soundcard, which didn't improve the quality (in contrary, it introduced some occasional crackles due to CPU overusage), so I decided to keep using the internal soundcard.

    All in all I paid less than 200 Euro for the Netbook incl. Windows 7, 99 Euro for Pianoteq Play, that's about 300 Euro for a significant sound improvement! Besides that, I can use the Netbook for living room internet browsing or take it with me on my travels, so it's a bargain.

    My Pianoteq performance settings:
    22khz internal processing (44khz output sample rate)
    48 voices polyphony

    Boot time (from hibernate status) is less than 10 seconds.

    I never have any dropouts or polyphony shortages. The CPU usage is even with lots of damper down playing up to only 50-60%.
    Posted by: mucci

    Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread - 10/05/10 02:09 PM

    Originally Posted By: TADutchman

    You are hereby personally invited to start testing some of the more recent dual voice settings with improved timbre and resonances, and supply us with some constructive feedback at the custom settings thread: e.g. the Shigeru Kawai, the Fazioli, the Bösendorfer and the Steinway in their most recent versions. cool


    Hey TADutchman, thanks for the personal invitation! grin I think I can't decline such a kind invitation...

    I'll test drive the newer settings and let you know my findings!
    It may take some time though... so long!