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Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital Which to choose?

Old Poor / Average Acoustic
4 (100%)
Average / Good Digital
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 4

Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital (Read 1244 times)

Offline adodd81802

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Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
« on: April 20, 2016, 01:29:08 PM »
General question. I was originally put off acoustic as my house wouldn't allow it due to practice times and size, and I could not afford a silent system.

However after returning to the piano seriously from a long break, I am finding my Digital just isn't cutting it for sound, it's 20 years old and good for it's time, but nothing compared to modern digitals at least.

It is often in the area that I live that you can find Free old acoustics, or very cheap acoustics 80-150. Usually these are 1920's - 1940's and been sitting as a piece of furniture passed down.

What are people's thoughts, is it better to get an average or below average acoustic, say 35/100 as an overall score, or would it be better to stick with an average-good digital say 65/100 in score.

With budget acoustic piano's what really are we looking for? Assuming fully working condition. I don't know what truly improves quality apart from the actual cost of parts, or, as I found out a couple years back, is the overstrung / over damper combo which makes for a pretty terrible acoustic piano.

Would I be better to learn on a bad acoustic to eventually prepare me for a real acoustic, or should I stick with a reasonable digital and make the change when my finances permits it.
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline mjames

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 02:04:44 PM »
average acoustic/old acoustic, cause pedals, tone, and touch. I've tried some really expensive digitals and even they fail to capture the sound of acoustics. for me playing on acoustics has really improved my listening skills.

just hire a technician to tune and fix the keys and you should be fine.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 02:40:14 PM »
I am of the opposite opinion.  I think the average decent digital will far out play the average cheap acoustic by a mile.

Of course they can be rebuilt, but that costs about as much as a new one, and most of these were marginal instruments to begin with. 
Tim

Offline stevensk

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 02:57:28 PM »

Depends..

Digital: No need for tuning, small and light, you can practise in headphones whenever you want. You can take it whith you at hollidays etc

Acoustic: If tuned, they sounds better, nice to look at, far better touch

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #4 on: April 20, 2016, 05:47:49 PM »
Unfortunately, most acoustics that you'll find for less than $200 are better used for throwing off a building than practicing.
An actually decent upright (which is often a rare find in and of itself) is going to cost at least 1 or 2 grand.
Jazz Ambassador 8)

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #5 on: April 20, 2016, 09:08:02 PM »
I'll go with the acoustic -- for much the same reasons as mjames said above.

I'll go a little further: with some luck (I was just looking for just such an instrument for a granddaughter, who may never really enjoy piano, hence the small investment!) I came across a really nice Baldwin spinet.  Good tone, decent action, good pedal action, decently in tune (and had not been tuned, so it was said, in two years)... for... "you'll take it?  Oh wonderful!  Let me help you get it into your truck!"

Can't beat the price...

Now I'll grant you it was the fifth one I'd looked at on the local Craigslist -- but it was there.  And quite acceptably usable when we got it into its new home.
Ian

Offline pjjslp

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #6 on: April 20, 2016, 09:15:41 PM »
I recently went through this exact issue after losing my 40+ year old acoustic in a tornado. We were limited to the cost of replacement, so my choices were between a comparably old acoustic or a good but not top of the line digital. I played a bunch of both and was not pleased with the acoustics that were in my price range. We ended up with a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-545.

What I love about it: the Yamaha CFX grand sound setting, the volume control (especially when my children are practicing  ;)), the headphone jack, and the overall feel of it.

What I don't love as much: the touch and dynamics control. The range from the softest I can play to the loudest I can play at a volume that doesn't annoy my entire household isn't wide enough. It also seems overly sensitive at times; for example, I will be playing a passage pianissimo and suddenly one note seems disproportionately loud. I'm not discounting that my playing isn't always perfectly even, but I'm also pretty sure I didn't suddenly have a seizure and bang on that one key. I don't know if I'm describing it well. It just feels overly responsive at times. Also, I find the pedal imprecise. There's pretty much no half pedaling on this. The pedal is down or it's not. I don't know if Yamaha claimed otherwise, honestly.

Overall, I'm pleased with my digital and don't question that it was the right choice given my options at the time. However, when finances allow, I will replace the digital with a good acoustic. My sister owns a bad acoustic, and I literally cannot bring myself to play it. It can't hold a tune and everything just feels wonky. I would take a much lesser digital over her crappy ancient acoustic.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #7 on: April 20, 2016, 11:34:47 PM »
Great second tier acoustic pianos are going for $150-800 in my area. And I consider Yamaha consoles to have third rate sound.  Baldwin, Hamilton, Sohmer, Mason & Hamlin, Chickering, Gulbransen, Wurlitzer, Knabe, Grinnel Bros of Detroit all are very cheap because they are forgotten. The salesmen don't have beautiful teeth, blue eyes, moused hair and Armani suits.  The showrooms are not on Rodeo Drive. And the brand names are being destroyed by the **** imports being sold under those names since about 1985.  I played an import "Wurlitzer" that was torally inconsistent at pp volume.  The bargain old relics are out of tune and neglected since Grandma got old. I paid $1000 for a beautiful 1941 Steinway 40 that hadn't been tuned since 1966-and needed it badly.  Had scratches and dents from kids, and that is why the flipper didn't buy it and list for $5500.  
I saw a great sounding but cosmetically trashed Hamilton for $40 in December.  And a beautiful sounding pretty black Mason & Hamlin spinette was in Goodwill for $40 two years ago.  Spinettes are a little slow.    
By contrast, the Korg "piano" at church sounds like a 1950 AM radio.  No highs or lows. And my friend that brags about his Y****** keyboard with the Steinway D samples, his sound system has no bass, and no attack ping.  Electronic "pianos" are for headphones only unless you spend $$$$ on your speakers and amp.  IMHO.  
I bought the modest house on a lot in 4th rate town  that puts me 11 m from the nearest neighbor's wall.  I have real obsolete plaster walls 2.5 cm thick.  I play at 3 AM if I wake up then, and nobody complains. I can crank up the stereo, too.  Those living in piles of cubes, move to Canada, they have plenty of room.  

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #8 on: April 21, 2016, 10:41:15 AM »
I

What I don't love as much: the touch and dynamics control. The range from the softest I can play to the loudest I can play at a volume that doesn't annoy my entire household isn't wide enough. It also seems overly sensitive at times; for example, I will be playing a passage pianissimo and suddenly one note seems disproportionately loud. I'm not discounting that my playing isn't always perfectly even, but I'm also pretty sure I didn't suddenly have a seizure and bang on that one key. I don't know if I'm describing it well. It just feels overly responsive at times. Also, I find the pedal imprecise.

What you are describing about the dynamics is a common complaint with even mid/upper level digitals. It's taken care of a couple of different ways: A lot of these mid range pianos ( I know Kawai and Roland do it) have on board lab programs or setups where you can get into fine tuning the instrument beyond the knob or slider control on a face plate. And if not, a rather inexpensive VST program like Pianoteq will do it. My Kawai has internal control for dynamics, still not that realistic, though very effective. I'm sure the newer Kwai's have addressed this. But I also own Pianoteq and with it I can absolutely get fine dynamics, in fact finer than on my real grand ( my grand really could use regulation). I'm speaking of really wide dynamics if I set it up that way, too wide for me in fact. I end up adding in some restriction on width.

Pedal is another matter, I use about twice as much pedal on the digital as on my grand. I feather the grands pedal a lot, barely using foot weight on it, it's something I learned early on. To get that effect on my digital I use about half pedal.
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 withindale

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Re: Old Acoustic V.S Average Digital
«Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 02:34:13 PM »
Why look for a 35/100 when you might find a little used 75/100 instrument? Problem is those can take time to find and may need some work - I know that from experience.

What you are looking for is a well made piano (i.e. from a good manufacturer) with hammers in good condition that will hold its tune and with no cracks in the bridges, etc.

One option is to buy a better digital and then take your time to find a decent acoustic. Another, if you'd really prefer an acoustic, is to up your budget to 1,500+ and then see what's available.