Which digital / what's important?

General discussion about digital pianos

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corno
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Which digital / what's important?

Post by corno » 14 Feb 2009, 00:45

Hello there,

I appreciate that this is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" question..

I am returning to piano playing after a long hiatus (15 years after grade 8). I have a music degree but not in piano, and I'd like to revisit the piano having the musical knowledge that I do now as I was a very indifferent student then.

Due to space constraints I am looking at digital pianos, but I am a bit lost. I went to Chappells and tried a few Clavinovas but I'm not really sure what all the differences are, so I wonder if anyone would care to discuss?

Basically I don't care about being able to have synthesised sounds like organ, harpsichord, trumpet, whatever- I just would like a really good digital that satisfies all of the following:

-- weighted
-- full range
-- resonance between keys
-- different timbre at different volume


basically as close to a real piano as I can get.

Thus far I liked the CLP380 the best. Unfortunately it was also one of the most expensive..

Any suggestions? I'm not even sure what questions I should be asking.

markymark
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Re: Which digital / what's important?

Post by markymark » 14 Feb 2009, 00:56

The natural wood action of the CLP370 and 380 give it the most realistic feel. Did you try the CLP370?

Have a look at this link which gives you a comparison of the various models within the CLP3XX range: http://www.uk-piano.org/piano-forums/vi ... f=9&t=6870

This information comes from the Clavinova website which is pretty good stuff (http://clavinova.yamaha-europe.com). The CLP370 gives you most of the important features on the CLP380 which is a good compromise.

I was talking to someone else about this sort of topic. Check out our thread and see if this answers any of your questions or at least help to focus your aim: http://www.uk-piano.org/piano-forums/vi ... f=9&t=6877

BTW, what is your budget?

corno
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Re: Which digital / what's important?

Post by corno » 14 Feb 2009, 01:10

Many thanks- that second thread is brilliant, I must go back and try the 380 again and listen for the velocity switching.

Budget is under 5k but I really don't want to spend that much unless it's for something really, really good. So about 2-3k. I am looking for something that will last for years.

Many thanks again!

corno
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Re: Which digital / what's important?

Post by corno » 14 Feb 2009, 01:29

Is it worth considering one of the Yamaha silent uprights? Can't remember the model name but the ones which are a real stringed piano with a silent option.

markymark
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Re: Which digital / what's important?

Post by markymark » 20 Feb 2009, 17:42

Silent pianos have a bit of both worlds. I have never personally tried one as I own both a digital and acoustic piano. I have heard some people talk about the digital piano voicing sounding even more inferior juxtaposed with the natural acoustic tone.

The guys on the Pianos forum will have more information about this.

Another option would be to install a silent system onto an existing acoustic piano. Not sure about pricing when compared with a factory fitted silent system.

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Re: Which digital / what's important?

Post by corno » 02 Mar 2009, 21:09

Right, I've tried a lot of pianos over the last couple of weeks so I'm posting back here in case anyone, finds my experiences useful.

I tried a lot of Yamahas: acoustic, digital and silent acoustic. Here are the options I was considering, and opinions. I only tried the acoustics for comparison.

CP-33 stage piano hooked up to a computer with a virtual instrument (because the inbuilt piano sound is not great): I abandoned this idea within minutes, because the CP-33 keyboard was so awful (in my opinion only). It was way too light for me, and playing it on the cross-bar stand felt extremely shaky. It felt like playing an ironing board.

CLP-380: The keys felt very good- not plastic and slippery and the piano sound was passable, but would have been pricey at nearly GBP4k. It wasn't good enough to make me feel comfortable with paying 4k.

CLP-370: Keys felt similar to above, and with a bit of twiddling of sound settings, could get a much more mellow sound out of it compared to the default. This option would have been about GBP1800. Keyboard still felt extremely light.

U3S: Silent upright version of the U3. This was hands down the best combination; the digital piano sound was lovely, and obviously it felt like a real piano keyboard.(And since the U3 comes with midi out, I could run that into a sampler and load in a virtual Steinway if I wanted to). However, the cost would have been nearly GBP10k, and even if I could have afforded it, I wouldn't want to have an acoustic piano in a rented flat because I'd have to move again at some point.

I also tried numerous U-series acoustic instruments all of which could be ordered with the silent system. I wasn't impressed with the U1, the U5 was good, but the U7 really shone. However at 18k, it was not even within the realms of possibility.

The conclusion I came to is that I would love to have a U-series silent upright at some point, but at the moment it's not possible (it may never be).

Today I tried a couple of Kawais and I was absolutely blown away. The CA-51 is going to be my choice, I think. It feels the most like an acoustic because the key mechanism is weighted in a similar way. The chap at the piano shop showed me a cross-section of the different mechanisms- acoustic piano, Kawai digital and Clavinova. I'm not very mechanical, but I can see that the Kawai key mechanism is a lot closer to the acoustic, and it feels very close. Much more similar than the Clavinovas anyway.

The thing that made me feel the most comfortable with the Kawais is paradoxically that I sound terrible. I sound terrible because I have not practiced for more than ten years. Thus, fast passages are shaky and my aim is awful. However, I sounded a lot better on the Clavinovas because they are much easier to play. I'm not saying that this is what everyone ought to aspire to, just that I'd really like to get my technique back and I think if I got a Yamaha I would not really be doing so realistically.

The piano shop I went to today only had the CA-51 which was the beginner model of the Concert Artist range, and a lower model (which still felt a lot like an acoustic). I'm going to ask them if they will be getting any of the higher CA series in, because if the beginner model was so impressive, I really want to know what the top of the line model is like.

Hope somebody finds that helpful. It helped me put my thoughts in order anyway.

corno
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Re: Which digital / what's important?

Post by corno » 02 Mar 2009, 21:11

Forgot to mention one important detail which is the price of the Kawais.

The CA51 would have come in at just under 2k, and the other student-ish model at just under 1k.

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Re: Which digital / what's important?

Post by markymark » 05 Mar 2009, 18:03

If I'm not mistaken, quite a lot of the Kawai digital pianos make use of wooden keys and have been doing before Yamaha finally got round to including it in their upper range digital pianos.

Do you like the more mellow tone of the Kawais?

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