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Accoustic vs. Digital Piano

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by Jennifer, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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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.
     
  2. differencetone

    differencetone New Member

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    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.
     
  3. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant Member Piano Society Artist

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    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
     
  4. digitalpianofan7

    digitalpianofan7 New Member

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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.
     
  5. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant Member Piano Society Artist

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    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
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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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.
     
  7. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ditto

    Jg
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    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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