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I've searched, but I can't find another thread which covers this. I propose we discuss concrete features which should be common on digitial/hybrid pianos, but are not. If we are lucky, an R&D person will read the thread and pick up on one or two of our ideas. Here's my opener. Please feel free to mention other features that should be available (on at least some models) but are not.

MORE APPROPRIATE ACTIONS FOR STUDENTS & CONCERT PIANISTS
Listening to musicians and watching videos I have discovered that manufacturers have slightly missed the mark with hybrid pianos - at least in terms of ideal practice instruments for classical piano students and junior concert pianists. It must be tempting to make one size fits all, and capture the largest mass market possible, but a "grand piano action" or "upright piano action" that plays well in a hotel, theatre or jazz club does not necessarily prepare fingers adequately for the rigors of a classical piano recital or even a high grade ABRSM examination.

I have just been watching a video by a young pianist who has purchased a Yamaha N-3X hybrid piano. It's a marvellous instrument with a grand piano shell that does most of what she needs, but every time a concert looms, she is scrambling to find a grand piano to perfect her fingering and expression. I know she still loves her N-3X, but it must be frustrating. Considering that the N-3X typically sells for €18k-€19k, there was every opportunity for Yamaha to put whatever action necessary into that piano, and tweak it adequately. So, either she is an unconventional classical pianist or Yamaha has slightly failed in this niche market. I'm sure I'd love to own & play that piano, but I gave up playing classical music many years ago.


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I'm not an advanced player, and have a hybrid, but am not convinced the problem, if there is a problem is so much in the key action. It's in the tone, an acoustic has many multifaceted layers of tonal capability that most hybrids with their electronic samples just don't have. When I have a lesson on my teachers grand, after getting the fingering, timing, dynamics, etc., right, the performance polishing is all about bringing out and blending layers of tonal 'colours' or sounds. I cannot do that on my hybrid and its nothing to do with the action.

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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
I'm not an advanced player, and have a hybrid, but am not convinced the problem, if there is a problem is so much in the key action. It's in the tone, an acoustic has many multifaceted layers of tonal capability that most hybrids with their electronic samples just don't have. When I have a lesson on my teachers grand, after getting the fingering, timing, dynamics, etc., right, the performance polishing is all about bringing out and blending layers of tonal 'colours' or sounds. I cannot do that on my hybrid and its nothing to do with the action.

I would agree, but with reservations. Would just any grand piano meet with her expectations? I would think not; there are some hammer horror stories out there on all types of piano. But, conversely, Russian pianists deliberately learn on some rough stuff.
Pianoteq has a mixture of multifaceted all-sorts, and some pretty rough stuff to boot.
This should meet anyones expectations . . . .


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Hybrids with acoustic actions, have acoustic actions, so they needs to be regulated like acoustic pianos and feel can be changed by changing regulation parameters (blow distance, letoff, drop keydip, jack alignment, or even reweighting).
Someone here was posting his playing on opened kawai novus, and from that video alone was clearly visible that factory regulation is just plain wrong, most likely on purpose so advertised features like fake dampers are easily perceptible even for not so good musician which is ridiculous, because when you regulate the action in real piano, You do everything you can to make the dampers work as they should and interfere with the feel of the action as less as possible!

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Blaaaah. Just play it. First World Problems....


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Originally Posted by Tyr
Blaaaah. Just play it. First World Problems....

This whole place is a first world problem smile


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The main roads to true innovation are:

1) half a Tera SSD onboard, ready to upload third party VST.

2) hyper fast chips able to run a true physical model piano (but this will take some time, I assume).

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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by Tyr
Blaaaah. Just play it. First World Problems....

This whole place is a first world problem smile

+1


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by Tyr
Blaaaah. Just play it. First World Problems....

This whole place is a first world problem smile
patiently waiting on @MacMacMac's banter :P


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Originally Posted by josh_sounds
patiently waiting on @MacMacMac's banter :P

Very unlikely. It seems Mac, along with others, moved to anoter forum for good. I even doubt he and these others look at PW these days, to PW's loss. frown

Last edited by EVC2017; 11/17/21 05:23 AM.

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I have a hybrid and in fact the action is not good. It's lightyears away from something I could use if I were to study piano professionally. I talked with a technician about that. The problem *all* hybrids have, is that the force of the hammer normally "releases" in the string, but when played silently the force has to go somewhere else (logically) and actually gets released in the axis of the key. This decreases the playability continually with every playing. Only after a couple of months after buying it new almost 40 axis had to be replaced, and the technician said he has never seen something like that before. I do play loud sometimes, but sorry, if Rach wants me to play ffff I have to do it. I still think it's the best action I ever had, and indeed I would be quite happy, if not for that purely physical problem. The technician said it even gets *worse* for the K300 or even K500 because since the keys are even longer, the force which the axis has to cover is obviously even higher. They get dented and then say bye bye to your repetitions. The repetitions are literally dead. Just hitting an octave quickly 2 times I can see that the midi values of the second octave are much lower than the first one although I play perfectly at the same volume. The action is just screwed up, and that for 6k$, yay!


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Originally Posted by Gamma1734
... released in the axis of the key. This decreases the playability continually with every playing. Only after a couple of months after buying it new almost 40 axis had to be replaced....!
I am wondering what this means, 'axis'? Can you use correct piano key action terminology to help me? No problems with my hybrid action after 9+ years.

I agree that the action on my hybrid is not on a par with many better digital or good acoustic actions. But that is why I like it! If I can play and express myself on my hybrid I can play and express myself on almost any action. Except maybe doing piano on a synth which takes further practice.

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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
I am wondering what this means, 'axis'? Can you use correct piano key action terminology to help me? No problems with my hybrid action after 9+ years.

Gamma1734 has a silent piano, i.e. a 'true' hybrid smile , not a digital piano with 'acoustic' action, which most describe as a hybrid piano. I guess your piano (NU1?) will not suffer because it doesn't have to catch the hammer shank just before the hammer head hits the string.

Gamma1734's message is quite a shock to me. Still have to decide what my coping strategy will be. Complete denial or complete exclusion of Rachmaninoff in my (future) repertoire. I have the same type of piano, but then one size larger. The K300, which theoretically apparently is worse in this aspect.

My K300 ATX3 is about 1.5 years old. I quickly checked and can't see any obvious dents or bent shanks. But I play rather softly because my finger joints can't handle large forces. And I am an early intermediate player, so no Rachmaninoff. Nevertheless it is really worrying what Gamma1734 reports. I often wondered how these shanks deal with the stress of having to stop the movement (there is a heavy hammer on top with a lot of inertia). It seems to me this is fundamental in the design of all silent pianos. But if it is problematic may perhaps depend on shank thickness, type of wood, width and dampening material of the stop bar etc.

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Originally Posted by anotherpianoplayer
I have just been watching a video by a young pianist who has purchased a Yamaha N-3X hybrid piano.

Can you link that video if possible?

Apart from that, I agree. Even formally they don't even try to imitate the real good stuff like the concert grands (probably because full mechanics on display attract more customers than an action that actually resembles the playability of one of the finest instruments...). Old topic: pivot lengths. The AvantGrand series does not really shine in that respect. The LX-706 seems to make some progress and for only 3k€ it matches the Novus pivots. However, I wouldn't want to repair that thing because like most keyboards they made the contact rubbers as inaccessible as possible - despite the fact that they put that action into a huge upright form factor......... wtf. Just think about it: disassemble the entire keyboard and half of the piano, then reassemble it, just to discover that it's still not working properly.... rinse, repeat. Holy cow, what a design flaw. And they are ALL doing it (to some extent). That tells you what type of consumer they address: just throw it away when your guarantee runs out.

Another point: have you ever seen a guaranteed tolerance for key response precision? By any manufacturer? At all? ie. how uniform must the velocity response (MIDI data) be in order to be considered "functional"? Noone cares. Noone measures it. Poeple just complain if it becomes too obvious. Now think about people starting to learn the piano on a badly regulated instrument and mistrain their ears playstyle... the more I get into these things, the more I despise the whole DP industry. I'm currently thinking about using a simple non-hammer MIDI controller for playing, cost me 339€. Simply because I'm refusing to "upgrade" to something of which I can't even be sure that it's actually better and easily repairable.

Last edited by Marc345; 11/17/21 10:03 PM.

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Originally Posted by Gamma1734
I have a hybrid and in fact the action is not good. It's lightyears away from something I could use if I were to study piano professionally. I talked with a technician about that. The problem *all* hybrids have, is that the force of the hammer normally "releases" in the string, but when played silently the force has to go somewhere else (logically) and actually gets released in the axis of the key. This decreases the playability continually with every playing. Only after a couple of months after buying it new almost 40 axis had to be replaced, and the technician said he has never seen something like that before.

Can other people with an ATX (or even other silent pianos) shine their light on this? There are some other people here on the forum that have an Kawai ATX system. Boboulous? Do you see any damage to the hammer shanks? Gamma1734's technician claims to have not seen it before, but he may be a Kawai representative and it would be nice to have some independent observations on this.

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Originally Posted by pianogabe
Originally Posted by Gamma1734
I have a hybrid and in fact the action is not good. It's lightyears away from something I could use if I were to study piano professionally. I talked with a technician about that. The problem *all* hybrids have, is that the force of the hammer normally "releases" in the string, but when played silently the force has to go somewhere else (logically) and actually gets released in the axis of the key. This decreases the playability continually with every playing. Only after a couple of months after buying it new almost 40 axis had to be replaced, and the technician said he has never seen something like that before.

Can other people with an ATX (or even other silent pianos) shine their light on this? There are some other people here on the forum that have an Kawai ATX system. Boboulous? Do you see any damage to the hammer shanks? Gamma1734's technician claims to have not seen it before, but he may be a Kawai representative and it would be nice to have some independent observations on this.

Hammer - string energy transfer is highly inefficient, hammer velocity after strucking the string can be very high and grand and upright actions have a special part to deal with it, it's called "backcheck" one of the function of backcheck is dissipating energy from hammer rebound, if backcheck is not well regulated you can feel hammer rebound on the key but even then it is transfered by lower leverage (1:1) than normal (5:1) because main mechanical key - hammer path is disconnected after the time hammer hits the string.

Maybe you all should have at least basic understanding how piano action works before bringing up such topics?

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Originally Posted by ambrozy
Maybe you all should have at least basic understanding how piano action works before bringing up such topics?

What makes you think I don't?

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Perhaps put yourself in the manufacturer's shoes. It's likely that whatever innovations/ features/ improvements that people are clamoring for right now are already developed and ready to be deployed. But why are they not in the latest offerings? Because they have to think of DP as long term, lifestyle habit that needs to be cultivated in the consumers. They have to trickle out the new improvements enough so people can justify an upgrade now, but not so much that they put off purchasing a new one for more than 3 years. It's the consumer's buying habit that drives R&D and sustains the whole DP enterprise. You make progress possible.


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Originally Posted by Gamma1734
I have a hybrid and in fact the action is not good. It's lightyears away from something I could use if I were to study piano professionally. I talked with a technician about that. The problem *all* hybrids have, is that the force of the hammer normally "releases" in the string, but when played silently the force has to go somewhere else (logically) and actually gets released in the axis of the key. This decreases the playability continually with every playing. Only after a couple of months after buying it new almost 40 axis had to be replaced, and the technician said he has never seen something like that before. I do play loud sometimes, but sorry, if Rach wants me to play ffff I have to do it. I still think it's the best action I ever had, and indeed I would be quite happy, if not for that purely physical problem. The technician said it even gets *worse* for the K300 or even K500 because since the keys are even longer, the force which the axis has to cover is obviously even higher. They get dented and then say bye bye to your repetitions. The repetitions are literally dead. Just hitting an octave quickly 2 times I can see that the midi values of the second octave are much lower than the first one although I play perfectly at the same volume. The action is just screwed up, and that for 6k$, yay!

Wow, this is worrying... You have just deleted any future idea of buying an hybrid or a silent piano from my mind. Thanks for the first hand experience.

Jose


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Note Gamma1734 has a silent piano, not a hybrid. It is a confusing term. Hybrids may not suffer from this problem. And we don't know how general it is for silent pianos.

Last edited by pianogabe; 11/19/21 12:11 PM.
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