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DP technology is work in progress. A digital photo already replaced film but the sound of a DP hasn’t reached a million shades of gray that we can’t hear the difference from a piano. A hybrid with the same hammer action is still not a reproduction of the acoustic sound.

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Originally Posted by U3piano
I think digital piano's could definitely do with some more Innovation.

For example, vsl's older piano libary, the vienna imperial, has a different sample for everytime you hit the same note twice with the sustain pedal pressed. You get a bit more of that twangy sound. (Because the hammer hits a string that's already vibrating). It's not perfect, the effect is maybe even a bit exaggerated compared to real acoustics, but I think things like that really make for a more natural, acoustic feeling playing experience.

It's just, the masses don't ask for things like that.
I completely agree with you. This is one of the first things that catches your eye when you start playing a real grand piano, after a digital one.
About VSL, given the highest price , we don't even get a "sound off" at minimum key velocity, let alone a mediocre left "una corda" pedal.
I see no reason to compare and say which is better. Of course, digital has advantages that acoustic ones do not. Ideally, you have both tools in your home. The dream of any pianist. But we are only talking about the sound and we are only comparing the sound.
As PianoStartsAt33 wrote in the topic, there really is such an effect, even from the highest quality VST, with a long playing the hearing gets tired faster.


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Originally Posted by josmat
I think, honestly, that the kind of argument put forward by Falsch is circular, self-referential and relativistic. So, according to him, digitals are possibly better than acoustics because he never played an acoustic and is perfectly satisfied with a digital. It is not even possible to begin trying to answer this kind of argument, because it means simply "I am satisfied with what I have/am/eat/play/consume/... and please don't you dare disagree with me". Typical of 21st century...

Nah; it is not so that I cannot be convinced that there ARE acoustic piano's that are better than ANY digital piano. I fully accept that a 150K Bösendorfer complpetely trashses an NV-10S and stomps on it for good measure. But... uh... not in a 75m² appartment. Not if I need it to be silent at 23:00. Not if I dislike a few of its notes and I have to hire a tech to revoice them. And not if I want to move it.

If I'd live in a mansion in the middle of nowhere and hiring a tech for €100 / hour (ex. driving to the mansion) and hiring professional movers etc, etc... I _would_ have a 150K Bösendorfer. But in my current situation, the NV-10 will beat _any_ acoustic; and that will not change for the forseeable future.

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But, a "digital piano" IS, in general, an attempt to _imitate_ an acoustic piano, and to convey the experience of a "real" thing (the acoustic) in a "virtual" (digital) recreation. Ask the digital piano manufacturers. And, at the same time, they can give some advantages inherent to digital or electronic technologies, like volume control, variety of sounds, metronome, using headphones, the ability to tweak the piano sound itself, etc etc. And you can be fully satisfied with the experience conveyed by the digital piano.

Exactly; but there are too many people that go into playing any digital piano, even an NV-10S or N3X, with the tought of: "This will NEVER be as good as a Steinway D", even though they will NEVER be able to afford a Steinway D.

If your budget is €8.900 and not a penny more, the NV-10 may be a better piano than any new baby grand you could get. (Because, at that point, you get into the rat's nest of "I want at least a 6 foot piano because otherwise the bass is poor", etc. And maybe you can't even place a 6 foot piano in your home, so the comparison would be moot.)

The digital piano has to be evaluated within the means of the buyer. It's no use comparing it to "the" acoustic piano, whatever that may be and then dream about things you might never be able to have. Better just get the digital piano and be satisfied with it... or you'll sit behind it forever wanting something "better" (even though it's not better for your situation).

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It is not primarily a matter of "better" and "worse", like "acoustic pianos are better because they are the real thing", or "digital pianos are better because I am satisfied with them and like their extra functions". First of all, they are different, and considered as _digital pianos_, they are representations of another thing, the real thing, an acoustic piano. And evaluated in this light, they can be better or worse representations/imitations of the "real" thing.

Of course; and a bigger/more expensive DP is probably better at approximating an acoustic. I'm also convinced that some of the very best digitals such as a CA-99, NV-10(S), N1X, NU1X, NV-5(S), LX-708, etc... are a better buy than a cheaper or even equivalently priced acoustic.

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No digital piano can give you the same experience. Maybe in the future digital pianos will give you all the vibrations (sounds don't come only to the ears) and all the multidimensionality an acoustic gives you. But not yet.

For me, this is the same stuff as book lovers saying "I want to smell the paper while reading" and analog photography enthusiast saying "I want to hold the picture while I develop it."

I can understand it may be part of the experience for some, but I don't mind. The NV-10 vibrates when turned up loud enough; if it hadn't, I wouldn't have minded. It actually does many of the mechanical things that an acoustic does (such as damper engagement etc), which the LX-17 obviously didn't. I never minded the fact that the LX-17's pedal was not exactly real (let alone the MP7 one). They did their job; they were just different to the pedals of the acoustics I played in the stores. The LX-17's keyboard never hindered me; it wasn't "worse" than a real grand keyboard; not for my playing level. It was just different.


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Actually it depends on the length of a pivot! Try to change it and it will give multiple effect.

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Interesting discussion. I have a Petrof baby grand of almost 100 years old, which is slowly decaying under my fingers, as well as a Clavinova 785, which is considered one of the better DPs. Before I bought the Yamaha, my piano tuner warned me for something called 'sample fatigue'. He is a very good tuner, did a 4-year education, tunes pianos in big concert halls and at major venues, does it all by ear and also knows a lot about DPs and virtual pianos.

He explained it like this. An acoustic piano sounds different every day, due to differences in temperature, working of the wood, air humidity, and tuning condition. From the day an acoustic is tuned, the tuning begins to decay. So basically, every acoustic is a bit off tune, and every day this changes. All these changes together make the character of the piano. It is never the same. It even changes character while you play on it. So you might say an acoustic piano is alive. This is why many pianists need time to 'get to know' an acoustic.

Now, the DP sounds the same, every day. Maybe the speakers will degrade a bit over the years, but that is the only change you may expect from a DP. According to my piano tuner, this is the reason many pianists find that DPs sound boring. Sample fatigue - the notes sound always the same.

How is it for me? I'm not a professional by any means, consider myself an average amateur. I love playing on the Clavinova, but if I want to have real fun, I'll go back the the Petrof. Even if it's out of tune, like it is now. I find myself switching to different voices on the Clavinova to keep it interesting. So I guess there is something to my tuner's theory of sample fatigue.

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Originally Posted by Ostinato
Sample fatigue - the notes sound always the same.

If this is indeed a thing, it would be extremely ironic.

Mankind has been searching for hundreds of years to combat the fact that instruments get out of tune. (Even a church organ can go out of tune because of environmental conditions, and it's not as easily tuned as a harpsichord or a piano...) It has been as bad as instruments having to be retuned after every few pieces.

Now we finally have a fix for instruments going out of tune... the digital piano / VST libraries... and now we don't want it because it's boring.

If slight detunings would make a piano more interesting, it would be relatively simple to just randomize the tuning by a few cents every time the piano starts. Just detune each key by -3 to +3 cents on startup, or better yet, make it a user-definable margin. If you choose -3 .. +3, each key will have 7 settings, and because you have 88 keys, your piano can have 7 to the power of 88 different tuning states. There; a different piano of which you will never hear the same sound twice, and it will still sound n tune forever.

I don't see any reason why a manufacturer that uses modeling such as Roland or Pianoteq, can't add that. (I wouldn't even be surprised if software such as Pianoteq _already has it_. I have PT 7.4, so I could check that when I get home...)


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Will randomized detuning create character? Somehow I doubt it.

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I personally believe a slight bit of randomization here and there (maybe not only in tuning) could make a dp/vst more life-like, less boring.

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Originally Posted by Falsch
If this is indeed a thing, it would be extremely ironic.

Mankind has been searching for hundreds of years to combat the fact that instruments get out of tune.
Now we finally have a fix for instruments going out of tune... the digital piano / VST libraries... and now we don't want it because it's boring.


As they say:"Be careful with your dreams - they may come true:)


Dealing with comparisons and analogies with photography... I thought it's pretty right until recently. But now I look at all of this at another angle.
What would make your bored faster - a picturesque view from your window or a digital picture/analog picture/handmade drawing of this view? Real acoustic piano does not depict anything - it just exists. While all this stuff - sampling, modelling, hybrid-shmybrid etc. - are an attempts to depict.

Last edited by PianoStartsAt33; 11/26/21 11:10 AM.

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That is a useful post Ostinato. I really like the condition slider in PianoTeq.

A plugin that automatically makes small changes daily for any VI would be interesting (with such adjustable variables like weather, tuning, piano condition, etc). The tuning might drift a bit every hour and not evenly through the registers, for example. Maybe the piano condition could deteriorate at an accelerated rate to keep things interesting. And the weather could be tied into the temperature and humidity of one's hometown via the internet).

Audio equipment sounds a bit different from day to day. Maybe due to changes in temperature, inconsistent electricity, hearing variance, etc. But I don't sense that really addresses the problem of boring, repetitive VI sounds. . .

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It's easy to address the problem of boring repetitive sounds on a DP, just switch to a different ' voice'. I do this all the time. An acoustic cannot do that. With some digitals you can change the tuning via an app.

Edit to add, changing a DP touch response also affects the tone in relative terms.

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I have owned a Novus NV10 for almost three years. I like the Kawai sounds in both the Pianist and the Sound modes. With speakers, that is. With headphones I used to generally revert to the older SK5 sample. It is less irritating to my ears. Anyway, I do get bored with the Kawai samples with headphones. I don’t believe it is because anything is wrong with them. But because I discovered VST’s. I own 6 of them so I have a variety to keep me engaged. I couldn’t do that with an acoustic. Yet, if I could I would have one.


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Originally Posted by Ostinato
(...) So I guess there is something to my tuner's theory of sample fatigue.

I'm certain there is, and I say this as a guy with backgrounds both in biology and computer science.
The replies you got, however, seem to assume you're talking about major detuning. No, in fact the value is in very slight drift which may be imperceptible in isolation, but adds up sensorily over the hours.
It's the same reason why vinyl can be less tiresome to listen to than digital sources.
At the same time, as some have pointed out, in the case of DPs, it's not something that can't be mimicked digitally, at least up to a point.
In the photography world it's been done, but again it's not a matter of applying the same cartoon filters to every picture. Rather, a good filter is one that mostly goes unseen, and which has randomness both in results but also in process. It's not science, it's art, and DP manufacturers have more of the former than of the latter.
But there's no way to recreate the tactile irregularities of a real instrument. That bit, you won't get from any DP.

Last edited by entonio; 11/26/21 08:31 PM.
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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
You reminded me of Schopenhauer. He had 1025 books in his personal library, and he warned at the same time that excessive reading is harmful smile

Heh. I don't read excessively. I said: "library", and that is exactly what it is. Allow me an explanation. (People not interested in this can just skip this post.)

After the e-book boom of 2010, many older titles became available as ebooks. Between 2010 and 2014, literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of backlisted titles got re-released, and a massive amount of public domain works was converted to e-books.

There is only one problem: digital rights management (DRM). Most retail e-books contain DRM, which encrypts them, so they can not be changed, copied, or converted. They are bought to be used on the e-reader for which you bought them. There are (very cumbersome) provisions to transfer ebooks from one e-reader to another, but not between all brands.

It just so happens that during this time, software became available to decrypt the ebooks you bought. Note that I say "decrypt", and not "crack". You will need to buy the e-book properly, and that software reads the book using your real decryption key, and then writes it back to the hard drive without decryption. (Analogy: you buy a CD that cannot be copied. But, you can still play it. So you play it on one stereo system, put that system's line-out into another system's line-in, and then press "record" on the other system to record the CD on tape... or hard disk.) Note that doing this is legal in the Netherlands, as long as you don't redistribute those copies you make. Uploading / redistribution of media you don't have the rights to _IS_ illegal.

Obviously, new encryption schemes would be devised; and that is exactly what happens. Newer e-books are delivered with newer encryption schemes, and not all of them can be read by anything else but the software of the manufacturer. The old encryption scheme is still around however, because the new schemes don't work on older e-readers.

Because I saw it coming that the old schemes would be phased out at some point, I took the chance to build a massive library between 2011 and 2014; I bought everything I wanted, could want, might want, and possibly could want in another 20 years. Fortunately this was also doable because Kobo was trying to break into Amazon's Kindle market with massive discounts and deals at the time.

I will never have to buy another e-book for the rest of my life, because I can't read everything I already have. Because those books are now decrypted, they can be converted to any e-reader or format for which someone happens to write a converter, so they'll basically live forever, as long as I don't lose them.

As such, I have my own library at home; but only with the books in it I would actually want to read.

Last edited by Falsch; 11/27/21 09:07 AM.

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In order to understand that the digital piano is still a long way from the real acoustic, it's simple. Sit at a concert grand, then sit at any digital piano, any concert pianist will tell you the difference is obvious. As an example, take a good recording of a grand piano and play it through the DP speaker system, even external monitors, whatever, it won't sound like a digital piano. The difference will be obvious. I think it's inappropriate to compare a photograph or a e-books, the nature of sound is more complicated than visual information.


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Originally Posted by Falsch
That is the entire problem: the digital piano is already the real thing; it's only different. Just as ebooks and digital photographs are a real thing; they're only different from the analog counterparts.

Agreed. Digitals also offer an alternative to people who may not be able to have an acoustic due to space limitations, living in shared space either with someone else or in close quarters with others such as in an apartment so they need to use headphones, the initial cost or the ongoing costs of tuning, the weight, whatever. They also offer a way for people to decide if they really want to or can commit to learning piano.

If digitals were not the "real thing" no band would use a digital keyboard. They are good enough for many, many purposes and situations.

If a digital gets more people interested then I'm all for it.

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Originally Posted by entonio
Originally Posted by Ostinato
(...) So I guess there is something to my tuner's theory of sample fatigue.

I'm certain there is


I wonder now if such a thing as a "modelled sound fatigue" exists confused? Cause I sold my Nord Piano 4 and thought about Nord Grand (interesting, but here in Russia it costs even a little less than Nord Piano 5). But then I saw those few demos of new Studiologic Numa X piano and liked the sound veeeery much. They say it's modelled. But looks like it can be new level of modelling, cause I don't hear that little flaws that occured in "SuperNatural Piano" modelled sound (I am former FP90 owner) and almost extinguished, but still presented in "PureAcoustic" technology (I had LX706).
It's such a pity nobody knows when new Numa will appear in stocks frown


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Originally Posted by Evgeny 85
As an example, take a good recording of a grand piano and play it through the DP speaker system, even external monitors, whatever, it won't sound like a digital piano. The difference will be obvious. I think it's inappropriate to compare a photograph or a e-books, the nature of sound is more complicated than visual information.

Oh, it will. There'll be differences because of the questionable quality of the amplification, but the naturalness of the sound - in the room it was played in - should be all too apparent.
Digitals may use good sampling and good modelling (usually both in processing) but they'll be lacking in realistic resonances. You can't fully reproduce the complexities of those, which will depend also on the tuning status of the piano.
But in any case DP makers iron out many of these extraneous sounds in order to create the effect they desire.
Something with mass customer appeal.
Which isn't the sound of an acoustic! Never has been, has it? except on some of the most expensive ones which will be sought after exclusively by traditional pianists for whatever reason, because they get much closer.


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I don't even think that it's true for modern DPs that they always sound the same. Maybe if you play the same note on its own, but with all the interplay (resonance modeling) modeled into them, that's simply not true any more - effectively making samples arbitrarily more complex, depending on how far you wanna go. Wasn't even true for my old GEM Promega 3 which was released in 2001. However, the erratic behvior of acoustics isn't there. DPs probably will never replicate them 100%. It even begs the question: which one should they resemble? Every acoustic decays in a slightly, maybe sometimes not so slightly different fashion. In principle, you can invent DPs that introduce their own "irregularities". Use some impulse response curves, and model a new algorithm over them, abuse them, invent a new type of reverb that's also using the MIDI data, etc.etc. . The possibilities are nearly unlimited, though processing power definnitely IS limited.

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Listened to the opinion of one experienced piano tuner and technician. Besides already mentioned above, he said that, in his opinion, it's impossible to play legato on DP. Yes, you may press one key before taking finger off from another, but you will get just two simultaneously sounding notes, with no real bonding between them. And this is fake legato. For legato to be real, notes should have alive acoustic nature, so that their harmonics intertwine etc.
Well... this seem really overdone to me. Those acoustic fanatics can go really crazy smile


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