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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
One thing we didn't bring up in this discussion is the superiority of the acoustic piano keyboard action (on a modern, high quality, well maintained piano) with wooden felt tipped hammers bouncing off the strings. I don't think there is a weighted electronic keyboard with the same feel. It's been a while since I really sat down with a good acoustic piano for any length of time but it must be better for control and building muscles.

I went ahead and purchased the Vienna Imperial and I love it. Immediately, it sounds a lot less muddy than the East West Quantum Leap pianos I had been playing. I tend to use a lot of sustain pedal. The tone of it is very warm and pleasing to the ear. I like that the dynamic range is adjustable to fit with my keyboard and style. It does have the sympathetic vibrations which has been a bone of contention with critics of fake pianos. I have never played a real Bösendorfer so I could not tell you how close this sounds. I am guessing very close but let us consider that every brand of piano sounds different so we may think of this sound to be valid even if it isn't an exact model of the original. I don't see how anyone would ever know it isn't a real piano when played well on a good weighted keyboard. The 100 levels of velocity switching makes the sample switching quite transparent and after all, we are listening to an expertly recorded piano with every key stroke.


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:56 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Not that I have a lot of experience with electronic keyboards, but I have some, and I doubt that they (makers) can get the damper or una corda pedals to function as in a "real" piano. There are so many intermediate levels; this is not a binary proposition as is the sostenuto pedal. Here is where a careful listener would be able to tell the difference I think.

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:33 pm 
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Mine has damper. I haven't actually used it yet. It's not that important to me but doesn't seem like a huge technological hurdle because the they have the sympathetic vibrations down and sustain. Those are just other samples. The damper notes are samples too. That is why it has 1,200 available samples per note. All this is software but now that the price of an SSD (solid state drive) is coming down, I imagine you will see it in what you are calling an "electronic keyboard" in the foreseeable future. There is no reason why it couldn't be made now.


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:08 pm 
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differencetone wrote:
Mine has damper. I haven't actually used it yet. It's not that important to me but doesn't seem like a huge technological hurdle because the they have the sympathetic vibrations down and sustain. Those are just other samples. The damper notes are samples too. That is why it has 1,200 available samples per note. All this is software but now that the price of an SSD (solid state drive) is coming down, I imagine you will see it in what you are calling an "electronic keyboard" in the foreseeable future. There is no reason why it couldn't be made now.

My point here is that the dampers are hugging the strings with considerable force but that that force may be gradually lifted to the point were the dampers are barely on/off the strings, causing a variable degree of freedom under different forces of playing. I don't think that could be reporduced. Regarding the una corda pedal, too many pianist approach this with a binary view: you don't use it or you use it with the action (grand) shifted as far over as it will go. However, to play the treble strings with a slightly different portion of the felt hammers allows for gradations of tone more than of volume, the same of which can be garnered from the wound strings of tenor and base. This is so complex and inconsistent (idiosyncratic) among instruments, that it could not be reproduced in my opinion.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:13 pm 
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Location: Shenandoah Valley
I see what you are saying. It could not be done with an on/off pedal. It's something which could be made on a physical modeling piano with a variable pedal but looking at the Roland V-Piano which costs $6,000, the pedals look like the switch kind on that too. I'm not sure if there is enough demand for what you are talking about for them to do that.

On further investigation, I did find that the damper pedal has two positions, full and half so they did somewhat address your concerns with the V-Piano.


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:14 pm 
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Yes, Roland's standard digital pedal is half-pedal capable, if your piano is compatible. You can get a half-decent half-pedal out of it, but obviously it isn't as subtle as a real pedal.


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:32 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
that? How about an electronic oboe with a breath sensor and button switches, or a violin with fret pressure sensors and lacking vibrating stirings


The piano is very different from an oboe or a violin because it is an extremely mechanical instrument. That is why it is the ideal candidate for an artificial instrument. With a wind instrument, your embouchure controls the tone continuously; likewise with a bow on strings. There is no such continuous control over the tone of the piano except in a limited way with the damper pedal which is also very mechanical. The damper pedal does alter the sound but not to the extent that an embouchure or a bow alters the sound respectively, also the damper pedal isn't always required.


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:57 am 
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Location: Toronto
There's no comparison in the context of performance, of listening "live" or of practising, really. The main difference is 1) real sound waves from a real piano hitting your eardrum aren infinitely more complex than the sound of a fake piano; the sympathetic vibrations between different combinations of notes as they hit at different times, with or without the sustain pedal--and everything in between, the soft pedal, the room's effect on the sound, with its own acoustic characteristics to which the piano is responding in complex ways.... 2) you, the pianist, in addition to 1) have subtle control over the way the piano sounds and can manipulate all these variables.

You just don't get this kind of realism in a fake piano.

Of course, the recorded result of a good fake (and I mean REALLY good) on one hand, and a professionally recorded piano on the other, can be virtually impossible to distinguish. But pianists do more than simply listen to recordings... or manipulate sampled pianos (as I do) they also PLAY them!

JG


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:55 pm 
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I have been thinking about purchasing a digital piano because of my current life situation.
I travel and do not expect to be living in my current place for more than a couple years.
A digital piano seems good if you need portability and convenience.
It also seems like a high quality one would be great for beginners because you can practice without
disturbing anyone and most beginners are not going to be able to tell the difference between
an acoustic piano and a high quality digital!
More experience pianists will be more sensitive to the differences.
But the truth is, most people, if blindfolded, cannot distinguish between an acoustic and digital sound.

So would you say that Roland is the best brand to buy digital from? I am still deciding between the Casio Privia models as well as Roland and Suzuki.


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Location: Toronto
digitalpianofan7 wrote:
But the truth is, most people, if blindfolded, cannot distinguish between an acoustic and digital sound.


Qualification: IF Recorded you are right ... if LIVE you are wrong... that is: ANYONE, even a complete novice, can immediately tell the difference between playing a REAL piano (however bad) and a FAKE (keyboard with samples) piano.

A really cleverly mixed recording of a sampled piano CAN indeed be difficult if impossible to distinguish from a recording of a real live piano performance.

But even recorded "sampled" or "fake" piano CAN be spotted in many cases, at least in the context of classical piano recordings for the following 2 reasons...

A. sampled or "fake" pianos are rarely recorded at a distance, or in a concert hall setting, and that type of recording is the hallmark of virtually ALL classical piano recordings. There is no market for that kind of sound in the world of sampled pianos. JAZZ or POP is the market, and that means CLOSE MIC recording techniques are used for ALL modern piano samples.

As a result, even great (and expensive) sampled piano recordings (like the online demos of Vienna Imperial or East West Steinway or Garritan Steinway--yours truly did one for the latter) employ CLOSE mic sampling, for the most part. Even their "room mic settings" sound to mee pretty much like a "close mic" type of recording, at least, relative to what one might typically encounter in a standard classical piano recording hall.

So the sound of the expensive, high end sampled pianos is just not the same as the sound one encounters in a classical piano recording. Yes, there are exceptions...in the sense that SOME (very, very, very few classical recordings) are close miked: Gould insisted on close miking, and you can hear it in all his recordings!!!

Alternatively, there are some old piano samples out there that actually experimented with sampling "in a hall", ie making piano samples that were based on quite reverberent contexts. Needless to say, these samples didn't sell; because the vast majority of users wanted "close mic" sampling, ie, samples that would "cut into a mix" or that could be used in live pop performance settings... ie playing a fake piano LIVE!!! (So the "hall" is already there, so to speak; that last thing you want is a reverberent sound.)

B. Good speakers (really good, and accurate) are quite revelatory of the sampled piano sound, especially given the above. But on many middle range stereos, and certainly on computer speakers, it may not be easy to tell the difference between sampled and real.

The entire debate is being rendered moot. Now relatively inexpensive (or so I'm told) midi add-ons for REAL pianos mean that you can essentially have the best of both worlds: a totally live piano sound based on a midi file.

As far as the best portable fake piano for practising is concerned, none of them sound or feel remotely like the real thing from the perspective of the person actually playing; but some sound like recordings of pianos, in a way. (so you have to do a kind of mental trick when you are practising on one.) That being the case, the most important factor is TOUCH, and the general consensus is that KAWAI makes the most realistic touch. There are, I think, two classes of Kawai keyboard, and both are supposed to be pretty close to a real piano touch.

JG


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:54 am 
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digitalpianofan7, what's with your nickname and your signature containing all those links to Squidoo ?
Are you aware that we do not allow commercial advertisements on this site ? Are you making money by plugging digital products ? If so, please take your business elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:18 am
Posts: 97
Location: Toronto
techneut wrote:
digitalpianofan7, what's with your nickname and your signature containing all those links to Squidoo ?
Are you aware that we do not allow commercial advertisements on this site ? Are you making money by plugging digital products ? If so, please take your business elsewhere.


Ditto

Jg


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 Post subject: Re: Accoustic vs. Digital Piano
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:58 am 
After all that's been said in this post I wonder if I should add another comment...

Just to quote one point of Radar's reply, digital pianos are in general less responsive and in my opinion only partly suitable to play technically demanding classical compositions. On the other hand, if you live in an appartment with neighbours who feel disturbed by extensive practising, a digital played mute with headphones is a perfect solution. Also if your focus is on popular music go for a digital.

I would suggest to just try some of them and find out if any of them meet your demands. I have an upright but also tested several digitals and found all of the Yamaha digitals disappointing in sound (not brilliant), only liked one or two by Roland and Technics, although the Technics did not seem very robust.


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