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The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano. (Read 2310 times)

Offline Derek

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The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
« on: October 08, 2015, 02:08:23 AM »
I was curious if anybody else here had this experience: I got a Roland HP-302 in 2011. I played it obsessively for several years. Then I started to become irritated with its tone, until today, I've sold it to my sister Amy because I could not stand the sound of this instrument any longer. On the surface, it sounds quite nice. As nice as a digital can get. But the tone actually started to irritate me. Like physically it would hurt to hear it. I don't think it was bad acoustics as I have a pair of very high quality headphones (the type that cost over 500$...it was a christmas gift from a company I worked for) and I felt the same way with those. Now I just play my old beat up kawai and, until I sold it, my clavichord (I'm getting a new one). Even an out of tune acoustic piano sounds a billion times better to me than a digital anymore.

Offline justharmony

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 02:24:30 AM »
Yes, I feel you.  I played a digital (mid-range caliber) for a year and a half while my real piano was in storage (Long story having to do with house issues).  I got to the point where I preferred not playing at all to playing the digital.  That's saying a lot for me.  I'll still play a digital, gladly, at times.  But as my primary instrument that I'd play every day I simply couldn't stomach it.  Perhaps it has to do with the generic and homogenized nature of the sound - the lack of tiny irregularities or imperfections that make the sound of a real instrument more palatable to us?  Perhaps it is in imperfection that real life (and real beauty?) lies.
JH 


Offline outin

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #2 on: October 08, 2015, 03:53:12 AM »
Yes, I have that too. The sound of the digital doesn't give me any of the pleasure acoustics do and after a while it gets annoying.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #3 on: October 08, 2015, 11:08:58 AM »
That's why I play through VST software, Pianoteq played through Mixcraft 7 where I have full studio control over the sound and use an audio interface. I didn't just accept the fact that how the piano came from the factory is what I have to listen to. Digital is very sterile and that fact is obvious in the sound. It's electronic after all. Pianoteq and Mixcraft both give me tools to overcome that. I can't stand two things in pianos. An acoustic that is out of tune and sounding ragged, nor a digital that is too pure and obviously digital sounding, not enough sustain, not enough sympathetic resonance . I like my acoustic to be in the upper level of *in tune* and that takes tweaking because the nature of the beast is to beat itself out of tune over time. The digital takes tweaking to slightly out of tune, someplace around 75% in tune. This isn't available with on board sliders, thus software. One thing about my digital setup is the dynamic range capability exceeds that of my grand piano presently, as the later could use expensive regulation. Another thing about the digital is once set up it doesn't lose anything, it stays put over time unless I change it.

But ya, if you buy a digital, plunk it down in your living room and expect it to feel as rewarding as an acoustic to play and just accept that 's how it is then you will be disappointed with it. And honestly that's all most people want from one or expect to come close to happening. And in the end, no matter what you do with a digital piano it's sound comes out of speakers, the acoustic doesn't. And most people don't want to be engineering the sound. That's fine, the choices then become put up with it or sell it.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline handz

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #4 on: October 08, 2015, 04:16:18 PM »
I never get why there are no digital pianos with GOOD sound, sorry, but I work a lot with best VST libraries and the samples used in any digital piano are awful in comparison - they not even try to put some good sound there!

You can of course play via VST but it is annoying to always have it connected to some computer, adding extra speakers etc etc, I wish they would make digital piano with truly well sampled grand - 16+ dynamic layers per key, pedal on / off , staccato, legato, sympathetic resonance... and put a really GOOD speakers to the instrument.

As it is not only the bad sound that ruins any digital piano I heard - flat, synthetic and dead but also the fact that through the speakers it not makes any real resonance, it sounds dull.

maybe one day...
In progress: <br />Scriabin: Preludes op 11 nr 6, 10, 17, 1<br />Rachmaninov: Prelude C# minor<br />Fibich: Poeme<br />Mussorgsky: Pictures at Exhibition Promenade, gnome

Offline indianajo

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #5 on: October 08, 2015, 05:06:56 PM »
My PA speakers that make a close approximation of piano sound on suitable CD's, cost $600 each (new) and weigh 83 lb each.  That 38 kg.  They sit on poles above and surrounding the organ for proper projection of highs in the room.  And those only go 50-17.6 khz. For the lowest few notes to 40 hz, one needs another 40 lb subwoofer and another amp channel.  I spent a year on a **** mixer making it sound good, and another year on the *****y amp making it sound good. You can buy suitable good sounding preamps  and amps in a megacity (not here) for ~$1000 each.
Now see why digital pianos don't sound good?  Although they have no excuse for poor sound into headphones, except that the whole concept is sterile, electronic mules.  Do they even do sustain right these days, with the singing of the other strings?  Does the soft pedal change tonal character properly? Do they even have soft pedals? 
Meanwhile great 50's wood pianos from companies sold into global slavery to flog off **** pianos with a formerly prestigious name, are going for $50 around here.   Yeah, I have to tune my console before recording.  Welcome to reality.  

Offline bronnestam

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #6 on: October 08, 2015, 05:40:50 PM »
I try to get the idea with this thread ...

If you don't like playing on digitals, then don't. I don't understand, though, why you need to tell the rest of the world that you don't like digitals. After all, we are many here who play on digitals, and we don't have much of a choice either. Or we just prefer to do it - no matter what.

Please bear in mind that there are readers here who recently have bought their digital pianos and they are very proud and happy of them. Are some people here seriously up to hurting others, or do you just want to boast about your musicality, your sensitive ears, your knowledge, or WHAT?


Yeah, obviously I missed the point with this. I hope everyone get the chance to play on the kind of piano they like the best. I wish you all a wonderful evening at your pianos.


Offline handz

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #7 on: October 08, 2015, 05:47:07 PM »
Im sorry, but if you buying digital piano for playing piano, it is always compromise and hardly a choice.

I also was deciding buying  digital one day an I knew they are not in the same league with traditional pianos, I do not see why anyone should be offended. I honestly can not think of anyone who likes classical piano and would prefere digital if they have chance to choose anything they want. Definitely not in the current situation on the market where there is simply not any instrument comparable to real piano.
In progress: <br />Scriabin: Preludes op 11 nr 6, 10, 17, 1<br />Rachmaninov: Prelude C# minor<br />Fibich: Poeme<br />Mussorgsky: Pictures at Exhibition Promenade, gnome

Offline bronnestam

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #8 on: October 08, 2015, 06:07:44 PM »
Still I don't see the point in telling other people why you think THEIR pianos suck. Because that is what you do. What is the goal? Honestly, what is the goal? Why writing threads like these? I just ask.

If you have a piano that you love, then please tell us. That is nice, that is positive. If you need advice on finding the right kind of piano, then ask and have a discussion. But this is really not uplifting in any way, it is not constructive (or what did I miss?), it is just very stupid.

I have a digital and I like it. Without it I would not have the opportunity to practice at all. Yes, I think acoustics are better. Yes, I can play on acoustics. Yes, I have played on so many acoustics during the last months that I really cannot count them all. But here in my home, I have my digital and yes, I like it. Now, if you think this is no information of interest ... 

Offline handz

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #9 on: October 08, 2015, 06:40:32 PM »
Im sorry I do not attacking anyones dream, just givinh some realistic and honest look into the problematic from my point of view. I was writing about the sound mainly.

I do not see point in pretending that something is great when it have lot of minuses. And I do not speak to anyone concrete. I just state the facts.  If facts hurts anyone that is sad. But in general discusion about something it is normal to state some opinions and facts.

For example - I  recently bought a new monitor for my PC, it is big, it is decent panel but it is not even close to really good monitors I would want which are  far too expensive to justify for my needs, my new monitor sucks when compared to some very good monitors on the market and I am not offended by this fact, I bought it with this in mind. If there will be discussion about good monitors and someone write mine is bad and there are much better, I would no be offended as it is a fact.

I have some keyboard as well, had tried tons of digital pianos from al lthe main brands and I state, that soundwise, nothing is really good and if it was better than average it costs almost more than quality upright with silent system - which is in my opinion best of both worlds if you need to play silently.

In progress: <br />Scriabin: Preludes op 11 nr 6, 10, 17, 1<br />Rachmaninov: Prelude C# minor<br />Fibich: Poeme<br />Mussorgsky: Pictures at Exhibition Promenade, gnome

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #10 on: October 08, 2015, 06:56:20 PM »
My digital piano has been a huge aid and even inspiration to my own music compositions. I've changed the flavor of the piece and the direction a piece takes by changing piano types both with on board sounds ( sometimes) or via software. Thus it's an invaluable tool to that end. I've taken those pieces to my grand on occasion and lost the sense of the piece there. Some fit that piano and others do not.

And to indianajo, yes within software ( sometimes on board software but certainly VST) you can go a long ways towards sympathetic resonance sounds that get very realistic. But you won't find it in a digital piano  you just pull out of the box and start playing. You gotta dig a bit usually or add software. Is it exact ? No but it's pretty darned good. Most people don't bother, then they claim the digital is lousy.

Also, as yet I have not played one of the new hybrid digital pianos that are supposed to get much closer out of the box to the wood felt, metal experience ( organic experience of acoustic). So I reserve comment. But most here, myself included wouldn't spend that much on one anyway.

Bronnastam in the past has mentioned and she makes a good point again today , some people have no choice but to go digital for any number of different reasons and it's amazing the choices one has in digital today really. in fact I originally got mine because of a live in situation we had going on at our house that I felt forced me to practice in my most creative times ( like 3 am) and so I got the digital and headphones, problem solved. That situation has since changed but it doesn't matter because I love my digital now. I love the grand too but this way I have options that work for me.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline handz

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #11 on: October 08, 2015, 07:04:51 PM »
Having both is of course best if you need to use different  sounds or connect it to computer for composing (I have masterkeboard too)
In progress: <br />Scriabin: Preludes op 11 nr 6, 10, 17, 1<br />Rachmaninov: Prelude C# minor<br />Fibich: Poeme<br />Mussorgsky: Pictures at Exhibition Promenade, gnome

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #12 on: October 08, 2015, 07:27:39 PM »
Having both is of course best if you need to use different  sounds or connect it to computer for composing (I have masterkeboard too)

Yes the digital is part of my system of tools.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #13 on: October 09, 2015, 03:06:48 AM »
Of course digitals have benefits compared to acoustics and that's why people have them and enjoy them. My solution has been to have both.

I figured the OP was just wondering whether he's "normal" for having issues with the sound. So what's the point of this thread? We'll, what's the point of most of the threads on this forum? Exchange ideas maybe? Or maybe there's no point... which probably applies to a large proportion of the content of internet these days...

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #14 on: October 09, 2015, 11:02:01 AM »
Outin, I think the OP's reaction to digital sound is fairly normal for someone accustomed to acoustic piano sounds, surprised it took him years for it to grind on him !! I noticed it immediately and went to work correcting what I could of it immediately as well, which I guess took years. And I could still do more but I'm not spending the money ( surround sound would be wonderful lol) ! And in the end the sound would still be coming out of speakers, not off a sound board.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #15 on: October 09, 2015, 12:51:18 PM »
Even without additional software most digitals can play in the common historical temperaments. 

You might awaken a new interest in playing. 
Tim

Offline Derek

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #16 on: October 09, 2015, 11:32:21 PM »
I hadn't meant to offend anybody nor to insinuate my hearing was more sensitive than your average digital piano player because I tired of my digital piano. I really enjoyed playing it while I had it, and recorded quite a few of my own pieces on it. It's just after a while it literally began to be unpleasant to hear, on a purely physical level, like hearing chalk on a chalkboard or fingers on dry glass. This isn't the result of snobbery, it's just a physical quirk of my ears. It may have been brought on by acquiring and playing a clavichord. The pleasure of playing the clavichord may have raised the bar for me, which I suppose on some level would sound like I'm saying my hearing is more sensitive now, but, to be honest I really have no idea how other people hear---only that my digital piano literally began to cause unpleasant sensations almost painful ones, and that neither my old beat up kawai nor my clavichord caused this problem. I will say my old kawai sometimes causes unpleasant sensations, but I think this is merely due to poor acoustics in my living room coupled with environmental or humidity changes as it does not always happen. The clavichord is so quiet it never seemed to have these problems---though it did have imperfections which were occasionally annoying, just not to the level which caused discomfort. It's probably the quietness I've gained a real taste for now. I DID sometimes play my digital piano at a very quiet level--but then the action of the damn thing was too loud. Truth is, my heart has been stolen by the clavichord...I really think that's what happened to me. Digitals are fine, my dad plays one, loves it, makes great boogie recordings, my sister amy's son loves the digital I sold her...they're wonderful things. Just not for me anymore.

I've used pianoteq---its a wonderful piece of software. I definitely like it better than your usual living room digital piano...in fact whenever I made midi recordings on my digital I would listen to them through pianoteq and find myself wishing I had recorded on an instrument that sounded that good. Maybe some day I will get a midi-recording acoustic piano or something.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #17 on: October 09, 2015, 11:49:51 PM »
I hadn't meant to offend anybody nor to insinuate my hearing was more sensitive than your average digital piano player because I tired of my digital piano.

You're seeking out your own direction, nothing wrong with that ! You know what you like, nothing wrong with that either. Best of all you did something about it. Congratulations.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline handz

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #18 on: October 09, 2015, 11:56:14 PM »
The problem it really the fact that the sound is "dead" from speakers and always same, it is not generated  but just played. That is why you become tired of it as whatever you do, few prerecorded samples play over and over, with not any change. Then even out of tune piano sounds exciting because it vbrates, it creates sound and sound responds physicaly to you pressing the key.

If the software and samples in digital pianos were better it would be much more good. But when they still work on same base of very poor sample sets being put in it wont get better. I hope for some revolution in this are soon.
In progress: <br />Scriabin: Preludes op 11 nr 6, 10, 17, 1<br />Rachmaninov: Prelude C# minor<br />Fibich: Poeme<br />Mussorgsky: Pictures at Exhibition Promenade, gnome

Online lostinidlewonder

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #19 on: October 10, 2015, 12:57:13 AM »
I practice on a digital Korg at home so not to disturb people during the late hours. It does not replace real at all but it is enjoyable to then go to a grand and reward my ears once the practicing is out the way. I think solely playing on a digital is no good for your sense of pedal and subtle tone touches, I once had no choice for several years only playing a Yamaha clavinova and it was no good.
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Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #20 on: October 10, 2015, 10:37:08 AM »
The problem it really the fact that the sound is "dead" from speakers and always same, it is not generated  but just played. That is why you become tired of it as whatever you do, few prerecorded samples play over and over, with not any change. Then even out of tune piano sounds exciting because it vbrates, it creates sound and sound responds physicaly to you pressing the key.

If the software and samples in digital pianos were better it would be much more good. But when they still work on same base of very poor sample sets being put in it wont get better. I hope for some revolution in this are soon.

Pianoteq doesn't work that way, it's not recorded model based, played over and over. It's regenerated modelling at each press of the key taking into account nuances of that press and also adapting to your playing style. You get to have a friendly feel about each piano you set up. It feels more intimate than recorded modelling. But alas, yes, the sound comes from speakers. This is why a good quality sound system counts too. One of the best things I did is use small amounts of sub woofer in my mix of speakers, it's barely turned up but it brings in that presence that is missing with just standard speakers, through introducing some percussion into the air. Real grand pianos vibrate the air around you after all. My experience in playing my digital is very much like playing my grand piano, not exact of course but very much. It's taken me a couple of years to get to this point though, I'm not a sound engineer after all.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline justharmony

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #21 on: October 13, 2015, 02:11:33 AM »
Maybe whatever I say here is a moot point now, but I'll admit flat out that I am very fussy about my own instrument.  Guilty.  But all I can really say is what my own experience is, not dictate what anyone else's is or should be in relation to ANY instrument.  I can say a digital - or at least those I have experience with - are not satisfying to me.  That does not mean they inherently "suck" or that somehow my ear or my experience is superior to anyone else's.

My understanding of the original poster's query was simply whether anyone else experiences something similar to their own experience.  My answer was yup.  If that serves as some comfort or whatever for the original poster, that is great and seems to fulfill the "purpose" originally posed.

If others want to take my post or others about our experiences as something negative, I can't really change that.  All I can say is that I don't have any negative intent, and that I'd never presume to tell anyone what their experience should or shouldn't be.

I totally understand being sensitive about the perfectionism and superiority complexes we often find in the music world... especially classical music, it seems.  But I'll offer the humble suggestion that we make a place to sound off about that, if anyone feels that need, and not insert that into a thread that seems to be a valid one without that additional overlay?

For what it's worth.

JH

Offline hardy_practice

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #22 on: October 14, 2015, 08:05:35 AM »
some people have no choice but to go digital for any number of different reasons and it's amazing the choices one has in digital today really. in fact I originally got mine because of a live in situation we had going on at our house that I felt forced me to practice in my most creative times ( like 3 am) and so I got the digital and headphones, problem solved.
Mozart had the same problem - he used a clavichord.  Wrote his Requiem on it!
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Offline hfmadopter

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Re: The experience of tiring intensely of a digital piano.
«Reply #23 on: October 14, 2015, 09:23:46 AM »
Mozart had the same problem - he used a clavichord.  Wrote his Requiem on it!

OT from the thread ( for the forum police):

Well I'm not composing any requiems any time soon lol ( I don't have enough years left in my lifespan anyway) ! But most of what I do is on the digital, probably 99% by now in fact. My music probably cross platforms classical and new age or just call it what ever,* contemporary simplicity*, *Soul Soothing* or something. All I know is the ability to change pianos to fit what is coming to me at the time is reason enough to stay digital for some time to come. My grand piano mostly sits, I don't play it a whole lot, I do keep it reasonably in tune and will rip off a few pieces now and then but that's about it. My creative stuff all happens on the digital using any number of different pianos in Pianoteq. Guests in the house mostly hear digital. To be honest from the next room you can't tell the difference, my wife has come in many times to hear/see if I'm on the grand or the digital to confirm it for herself.

My wife's singling group has performed Mozart's Requiem two times in it's near 35 year singing history, Awesome with 12 piece orchestra !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.