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electric pianos (Read 2001 times)

Offline liszmaninopin

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electric pianos
« on: May 18, 2004, 11:23:06 PM »
I was at a piano store the other day, and the store owner told me how, supposedly, top-end electric pianos nowadays sound and feel exactly like a concert grand (I think the brand he was pushing was Technics, but this has been a while)  I maintained that there was some difference, but he insisted they were identical.  Does anybody have any comment on how similar top end electrics are to top end grands?

Offline xvimbi

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #1 on: May 19, 2004, 01:14:19 AM »
That is a bunch of bolony! The differences are getting smaller and smaller, but there are still lots of them.

First of all, the action is usually completely different. Most digital pianos don't have an escapement mechanism. There are some however (Yamaha) that do incorporate a true acoustic grand action (very expensive). However, is an escapement mechanism really necessary? That's a different question, though.

Even if you had a real action, the sound that digital pianos produce is far from the real thing. This has to do with the limited amount of memory in those devices, which does not allow to store realistic samples. The best one can do is to connect a digital piano to a computer and run some of the high-end digital sound samples on it (takes up up to 5 GB of memory). In this case, the sound can get pretty realistic.

However, no easily accessible digital piano at the moment comes close. The only one, perhaps, is the Post Piano. Definitely not Technics, which by the way, as far as I know, has gone out of the digital piano business. Perhaps, that's why he was pushing so hard.

It is best not to think too much about the similarities and differences between digital and acoustic pianos. They are both musical instruments in their own rights. Digitals are great for practising, recording, exchanging music, playing around with different instruments, composing, etc.

And imagine, all those tuners would have to find new jobs...

Offline janice

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #2 on: May 19, 2004, 01:56:41 AM »
all this talk of 'electronic pianos' and 'digital pianos' makes me think of this (correct me if I'm wrong, please) but I thought that it is, technically speaking, WRONG to call it an electronic PIANO because don't those two words contradict one another? Isn't it more appropriate to call it an electronic KEYBOARD?
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Offline liszmaninopin

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #3 on: May 19, 2004, 02:35:26 AM »
You have a point-but people will know what you mean either way.  By the way, what do you think an electric guitar should be called, then?

Even if it incorporates a true grand piano action; it's still different, at least to me.  The simple psychological effect of going from an immense intrument (grand piano) to a smaller one (electric) must effect one's playing, or at least one's approach and manner of touching the keys.

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #4 on: May 19, 2004, 04:33:05 AM »
I have yet to see (or handle) a digital piano that feels like a real one. All that I've tried playing felt like toys compared to a traditional wooden acoustic piano, and to add; they sounded 2-dimensional if you know what I mean. The real thing is still the real thing.

Offline xvimbi

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #5 on: May 19, 2004, 03:17:51 PM »
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Even if it incorporates a true grand piano action; it's still different, at least to me.  The simple psychological effect of going from an immense intrument (grand piano) to a smaller one (electric) must effect one's playing, or at least one's approach and manner of touching the keys.


Well, you could take a piano, rip out its soundboard, attach an electronic system that reads out the hammers and dampers, install a high-end sound system under the "hood", and you would have a fairly realistic experience. It is technologically feasible to reproduce an acoustic with good results. The question is: should it be done?

The reasons why one would strive to reproduce an acoustic piano digitally is that digitals are smaller, don't need tuning, can adjust touch, responsiveness, voicing, etc. on the fly, can be played with headphones, can be connected to a computer, can be carried around, don't cost $100,000, and so on. However, the acoustic piano has, like any other instrument, good aspects as well as serious shortcomings. Why would one want to re-create a flawed instrument (I'm sure this will elicit some reactions)? A digital gives the opportunity to improve, to make a different type of instrument. Nobody expects an electric guitar to sound and feel like an acoustic guitar. They are different instruments. One has to take the acoustic piano for what it is, and take the digital piano for what it is.

Therefore, it is simply a matter of expectations. If one expects a digital piano to behave and sound like a good acoustic, one will be disappointed. If one expects it to make coffee and iron shirts, one will be disappointed (could be done though). If one takes a digital for what it is, one will be a happy camper!

Offline jr11

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #6 on: May 19, 2004, 05:45:51 PM »
A digital has significant advantages over an accoustic. You can take it and set it up anywhere, it has multiple voices (great for Bach!), you can play in silence or through any sound system, and you can record. I have a grand piano, but the digital is so versatile that I use it most of the time for practice.

The touch and sound of many digitals is just fine, as is the touch and sound of many accoustics. One is not necessarily inferior to the other, they are simply different. Do not let the price differences fool you... you are paying for more expensive materials, much higher production time and transport cost with the accoustic. With high-end accoustics, you are also buying new mansions and Ferraris for the old farts who run the company.

Offline newsgroupeuan

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #7 on: May 19, 2004, 09:03:34 PM »
Quote
A digital has significant advantages over an accoustic. You can take it and set it up anywhere, it has multiple voices (great for Bach!), you can play in silence or through any sound system, and you can record. I have a grand piano, but the digital is so versatile that I use it most of the time for practice.

The touch and sound of many digitals is just fine, as is the touch and sound of many accoustics. One is not necessarily inferior to the other, they are simply different. Do not let the price differences fool you... you are paying for more expensive materials, much higher production time and transport cost with the accoustic. With high-end accoustics, you are also buying new mansions and Ferraris for the old farts who run the company.


One thing that must be said is the touch on all digital is very light

Offline xvimbi

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #8 on: May 19, 2004, 09:53:21 PM »
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One thing that must be said is the touch on all digital is very light


Not so! Not so at all! The Yamaha graded hammer action is very heavy. In fact, it is heavier than all Steinways I have seen, and heavier than most other acoustics. The Kawai AWA action is a bit lighter, but still fairly heavy. The action on keyboards, however, is very light and, in my opinion, completely useless. There is a difference between keyboards and digital pianos...

Offline donjuan

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #9 on: May 20, 2004, 01:45:28 AM »
I think I might take a high quality digital over a low end upright piano.  The action is getting better on the digitals every year, and it wont be long before someone invents a SUPER expensive digital that feels just like a grand.  What bothers me the most about digitals, however, is the pedals.  It seems we cant control different levels of pedeling.  It always sounds pressed to the floor, or not at all.  Someone needs to do something about that too.
donjuan

Offline rlefebvr

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #10 on: May 20, 2004, 03:38:44 AM »
I don't know what expensive is, but I have seen 25 000$ Rolandís for sale.

Everybody has made good points on both ends of the barrel.

The quality of the new digitals is very impressive. Remember, it's computer technology. Change comes quick and what was terrible only 3 years ago is so much better today.

You have to buy it for the reasons stated in the above posts, but make sure you get chances to play on the real thing. Although the gap is getting smaller, it is there and it is significant.

I got rid of my upright and bought a digital and have never been happier. One, I have a small house and it takes less space. Two, I can play at midnight with earphones (huge) 3. It sounds better then my upright. The touch is not as good obviously.

As long as you can still practice on the real thing once in a while, I don't think it can hurt you, the advantages are great.

I would not recommend it some someone who is really really good however as they are for sure going to be disappointed.
Ron Lefebvre

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Offline donjuan

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #11 on: May 20, 2004, 03:59:12 AM »
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I don't know what expensive is, but I have seen 25 000$ Rolandís for sale.

Everybody has made good points on both ends of the barrel.

The quality of the new digitals is very impressive. Remember, it's computer technology. Change comes quick and what was terrible only 3 years ago is so much better today.

You have to buy it for the reasons stated in the above posts, but make sure you get chances to play on the real thing. Although the gap is getting smaller, it is there and it is significant.

I got rid of my upright and bought a digital and have never been happier. One, I have a small house and it takes less space. Two, I can play at midnight with earphones (huge) 3. It sounds better then my upright. The touch is not as good obviously.

As long as you can still practice on the real thing once in a while, I don't think it can hurt you, the advantages are great.

I would not recommend it some someone who is really really good however as they are for sure going to be disappointed.

Yes, I agree!!  I love having a digital and a grand piano...it is a great set up for the average student..:)

Offline Terry-Piano

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #12 on: June 16, 2004, 10:02:34 AM »
You guys should all try the new digital pianos these days... pretty close to the real touch and sound of modern grands...and most got options you dont have on a grand

Offline xvimbi

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Re: electric pianos
«Reply #13 on: June 16, 2004, 03:11:33 PM »
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You guys should all try the new digital pianos these days... pretty close to the real touch and sound of modern grands...and most got options you dont have on a grand
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