Author Topic: Digital Pianos Buying Guide. [Txt Wall]  (Read 187 times)

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Offline tp4tissue

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Digital Pianos Buying Guide. [Txt Wall]
« on: Wed, 17 February 2021, 19:24:44 »
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Yamaha N3X /N2 /N1X /NU1X
Kawai Novus 10 /5


These are known as Hybrid pianos, because they transplanted a real acoustic action into an otherwise digital piano. The cabinetry (sound box) is smaller but similar to acoustic boxes, adding to the resonance warmth of the machine.

__ Limitations,

- The acoustic action provides the real-deal force feedback, but it still does not quite connect with the sound the same way as hammers striking an acoustic harp.

- There is more variability in resistance due to having more components and soft components that are impacted by age/wear/temp/humidity/(regulation)

- Acoustic piano actions have their own problematic points, such as the need for a let off (tactile bump),

- Some users prefer having a let off, and it's a necessary component of an acoustic action. It is a point in the key travel where the hammer disengages with the push rod and is allowed to swing out on its own. If it didn't do this the hammer would get stuck or bounce.

- On a digital action, this isn't necessary, and some users believe that because this point in the key travel will change over time on the acoustic action as the soft components change in dimension (compress), it adds an element of unpredictability.   On the other hand, the opposition could argue, that variability is what makes the acoustic element a living analog system, Box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

- This action will require regulation at some point, this is a $300-500 expense, and require a special technician who has access to certain manufacturer specific software and specs. This is a departure from normal piano regulation that all technicians can do. On a regular piano they go by feel and sound, they don't have to worry about the software (firmware).

Sound quality;

These are the most expensive digitals they make, so they all sound good, they're as good as yamaha and kawai could make it.

However, some people believe that despite being expensive, the manufacturers are still holding back on giving the user full length samples. These pianos still use looped samples. They record a key for 4 seconds, then cut the tail off and begin to loop the sample with a decay effect, it sounds pretty realistic, but the piano-connoisseurs can spot it.

This is in contrast to Computer software (virtual instruments) which you can buy for ~$300 that use 200-300Gigabytes of samples on a single piano, SSD is a requirement.  This is in great excess of what even the most expensive digital pianos come with. 

All these digital pianos support connection to PC though, so you can have Both. But, it's $300 for software and that's only a SINGLE piano. It's damn good, but you can see how that it'll add up if you get addicted to collecting them pokemon style.  Overall, a very competent set of good Virtual instruments can be captured within the first $3000, so what's $3000 ontop of $7,000-20,000

This doesn't include the PC cost, you need a pretty beefy machine, 32gb ram, 1-3 Tb of ssd space.



High-End:


Yamaha CLP 795/785
Kawai CN 99/79
Roland /LX 708/706 /GP609
Casio GP510/310
Dexibell H10


These all sound great, they use simulated actions, fewer parts, more reliable over time, maintains much higher mechanical tolerance. You may have to replace a felt pad over time, but it's easily serviceable by the laymen.

In this group, they have the longest keystick of the simulated category. Longer = more even feeling.

In this range, Most simulate let-off, with the exception of the Casio. This isn't a good or bad, it's a difference in design philosophy. Casio's Gp510/310 action is designed with involvement from Bechstein(germans).


Mid-range:

Yamaha CLP 745/735/725
Kawai CN 59/49
Roland LX 705 , HP 704/702

They're pretty good, the main difference won't really be in the action even though they use slightly shorter key sticks.

Primarily these have cost reduced speaker system. from amps to # of cones, tweeters, transducers, etc.


Entry-lvl:

Yamaha YDP 164/S54 /184/  P 515/125/45
Kawai CN 39/29  Es 920/520/110
Roland HP /FPX /RP /F
Korg G1/C1/LP380/B2
Casio PX /AP /PXS /CDP

There are lots and lots of models that would go here, wide range in price $300-2500, and overall, they're all good enough to get started, even the cheapest of the bunch.

With exception of the Korg LP380/c1/g1, p515, most of these use a shorter key action than the mid-range units.  This is not terribly distinguishing, but it is something.

IMHO none of them are massively different. They'll try to outsell one another on marketing, but there are no real stand out features, or massive up-Res of the sound systems until you get to the mid-range.

All the brands have their own signature sound.

End of the day, digital pianos like the rest of the sound market have matured to the point that nothing truly sounds Terrible as long as it's from a major brand. You'll still hear some weird stuff (not awful) come out of places like williams/alesis/artesia/donner. <EVEN THEN> they're fine as a starter.