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GEM RP800 vs. pRP800 keybed: any difference?


Flavirista

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Hi all,

i am looking for a digital piano for home use, and was quite impressed with the GEM DRAKE technology. I know PR and rPR are the same in sound quality - but do they have the same keyboard? PR800 seems to be better for home use, but i was told somewhere, that there was a newer and better keyboard (Graded hammer?) in the rPR model. Any ideas? Someone able to compare side-by-side?

 

BTW, i use a 1982 Rhodes 73 for gigs and like the PR 800 Rhodes patch a lot. Seems closer to my baby than Clavia. Kudos GEM!

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Thanks, Niacin!

Some people were not happy about Promega Fatar action, and i was afraid the RP800 shared the same keyboard.

I havent been able to test the PR800 action yet, but i quite like Yamaha Clavinova action. Tried some Roland RD as well - that seemed to heavy for me. What about comparing the PR800 action to these?

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The new GEM action is light and snappy. Your clavinova is more heavily weighted and sluggish in comparison. The GEM is closer to the actiona on the Roland RD300sx than to that on the 700sx.

Keys: Hammond SK2, Hammond SK1, Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Waldorf STVC

Amplification: Line6 L3T, Yamaha DBR-10, Presonus Air 10, Leslie 122V

 

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I'm curious.

 

Flavirista, you stated that you're impressed with the DRAKE technology. If there were no name associated with the manner in which their sound is generated, would you be as impressed?

 

Re actions - I was one of the folks who was not impressed with the Fatar action in the ProMega 3 I played last year (or the year before). I have no way of knowing if any changes were made in the Fatar action they are now using. (Also, don't take this as a knock against Fatar - they make many different actions and keyboard manufacturers that don't roll their own can order anything they want.)

 

I do take issue with the sluggish remark directed against Yamaha. I don't think I've ever been unhappy with a Yamaha keyboard action (or a Roland keyboard action for that matter). Of course, I would prefer an acoustic action but Yamaha and Roland are extremely consistent in they actions they make. And as I always state, I have never found any electric keyboard to have a heavy action. If we're talking keyboard actions, the actions of acoustic pianos have to be the reference point, right?

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I do take issue with the sluggish remark directed against Yamaha.

 

Now, that's funny. :)

 

You often wrote that the PM3 action was mushy, and apparently you couldn't understand why PM3 users were taking issue about your remark. :D

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Cydonia, I'll repeat this, I have never been unhappy with the keyboard actions of any Yamaha or Roland keyboards. (I'm not referring to the very cheap models of either brand - I don't play them so I don't know if they are good or not, I just play the stage pianos that always get mentioned here.)

 

I have repeatedly complained of certain 'issues' of the OS of the P250 and CP300. I don't defend Yamaha or Roland because I have owned them, I speak from personal experience ... and I really do my very best to be objective.

 

From that same personal experience, that ProMega 3 I played in a very large music store (in Culemborg, the Netherlands) had a mushy action across the board - the bottom of the key dip was vague and that was extremely distracting ... and just poor. I was so distracted by the poor action that I could not have considered buying it even if the piano sound were perfect.

 

There have been a few folks here who mention that some keyboard actions are heavy; perhaps they are comparing those actions against an unweighted action. From my years of playing acoustic actions I have never come across an electric action that was heavy.

 

Now Gangsu will enter to say something pithy since so many of the ProMega owners take any criticism of their keyboard so personally.

 

For me an electric keyboard is just a tool ... one that only gets used when there is not a suitable acoustic piano present.

 

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Well, my point was just that : "being happy" with a particular action can be quite subjective, just as a piano sound, be it acoustic or digital.

 

You might prefer actions from certain brands, whereas another very good pianist might prefer actions from other brands.

 

Who's right and who's wrong? Nobody, since it's once again very subjective, unless we are talking about cheap models.

 

That's why diversity exists. Light and heavy actions, dark and bright piano tones, both for acoustic and digital pianos. :wave:

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Thanks you all are willing to help!

 

Dave: I am not impressed with the name, but the technology itself. Just try to look at Clavinova series - if you want to buy one with string resonance (CLP 270), prepare to pay more than twice the price of PR800. BTW, i have a master degree in electrical engineering. Don´t suspect me of eating marketing tricks in this area.

 

The action: Some people seem to have only one criteria here - the heavier the better. I don´t share this. Not all the acoustic pianos have heavy action. A grew up with an old upright piano, and the action was lighter than most of recent weighted keybeds. Later i played the Rhodes and unweighted synths. No need for super heavy "concert grand" action for me. I even prefered the cheap Clavinova (CLP 220) action over the top models.

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BTW, Flavirista, welcome to the forums! :wave:

 

And don't forget to write your own review about the piano you'll buy. :thu:

 

I agree with you that the quality of response of an action, be it on an acoustic or digital, doesn't need to be linked with how heavy it is.

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Who's right and who's wrong? Nobody, since it's once again very subjective, unless we are talking about cheap models.

 

Well, if you take ten guys who just make their living playing and put them in a room with ten pianos, I'd be willing to bet they have a general consensus about which pianos are good and which ones are less than good. Does that in and of itself have any weight to you?

 

If everything is subjective, why bother posting here to ask anything, just go to a store and buy whatever tickles your fancy.

 

 

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Well.

 

If I ask ten guys who make their living playing rock-n-roll stuff à la Jerry Lee Lewis in bands with 4 to 8 musicians, they will probably prefer the pianos who have a bright tone, since they need to be heard amongst other instruments. They could also make sure they can do glissandos without destroying their fingernails, since this is often used for that style.

 

Now, if I ask ten guys who make their living playing classical solo concerts, I'm sure the rock-n-roll glissandos will be the last priority in their criterias. Just like they won't be concerned to choose a brighter sound since they don't play with other instruments.

 

Different people, different criterias, different tastes.

 

In any case, my point is : it's not because you prefer Yamahas that everyone should also praise them as the best actions. So other people have the right to comment against them. Just like it's not because I prefer the sound or the action of a Bechstein over a Pleyel grand that everyone should think exactly like me, right?

 

If everyone would have the same tastes, then all piano stores would sell the same brand. How come music stores sell multiple piano models and brands, digitals and acoustics? Because tastes vary. And taste has often a lot to do with subjectivity.

 

In any case, this is totally off topic.

 

This thread is about GEM keybeds and should continue that way.

 

My apologizes to the thread starter for this little hijacking. ;)

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Dave: I am not impressed with the name, but the technology itself. Just try to look at Clavinova series - if you want to buy one with string resonance (CLP 270), prepare to pay more than twice the price of PR800. BTW, i have a master degree in electrical engineering. Don´t suspect me of eating marketing tricks in this area.

 

You know, if string resonance were shut off while you were playing, you'd never notice it. It's great that the manufacturers can more closely approximate the properties of a real acoustic piano but in practice features like string resonance are heard when the player (or salesman) decides to impress someone with that feature - in actual practice, you don't hear it.

 

Cydonia, my remarks were directed to the actions of the various keyboards. The original poster asked about keyboard (action) and thus my remarks .... which were not off topic. While I would not want to practice on any electric keyboard action, I have only been turned off by the action of one well known stage piano ... thus my comments.

 

I will go back and play another ProMega3 and if GEM is using a different and better) model of Fatar action, I will certainly report back.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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By "sluggish" I meant slow key return, not heavy action. They are two separate things. The GEM action is lighter. The return on the GEM models under discussion is also noticeably faster than that on Yamaha Clavinovas I have played. The key return on most acoustic pianos is, in my experience, noticeably faster than on most digitals. FWIW, I could comfortably play clav parts on the GEM, something I cannot do on most weighted actions and could not do on any acoustic piano with a midibar or similar. At the same time, the new GEM action is substantial enough to provide good control over dynamics. YMMV.

 

The new action in the pRP700/800 is NOT made by Fatar. It was designed in house by Generalmusic themselves.

 

Before returning you to your regular channel I should declare that I agree with Dave's comment regarding the relative insignificance of string resonance. The GEM technology is, however, importantly different to that of other manufacturers in that the samples simply form the basis for a model of the piano sound, thus eliminating velocity switching and allowing for a more natural progression through the dynamic range.

 

Now, back to the umpteenth episode of "Grumpy Old Men".

Keys: Hammond SK2, Hammond SK1, Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Waldorf STVC

Amplification: Line6 L3T, Yamaha DBR-10, Presonus Air 10, Leslie 122V

 

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Thanks all! I am a newbie in the world of digital pianos, and every experience is helpful for me.

 

Maybe i should try to explain better my reasons for starting this thread. It is not easy to try one of GEMs here in Prague, but a local music store promised to order one (RP800) for testing. This is great, i hope to have possibility to test it side-by-side with the other pianos, both for the action and the sound. I just want to be sure the keybed in PR and rPR models is the same, because if i find the action inappropriate for me, there is no reason to look for the other.

 

Look at this page:

http://www.generalmusic.com/html/prodotti.asp?cod=991488&ext=extra/rpseries/realpiano_comparison_eng.htm

It states there is a "enhanced real hammer action" under RP800.

 

Now look at this:

http://www.generalmusic.com/html/prodotti.asp?cod=prpser&mod=991531&lingua=eng&frame=sp

There should e a "graded hammer action" keybed in rPR800.

 

Looking for any ideas!

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Hi all,

 

I would like to clear up a few items if I may;

 

The RP800 does not currently use the same keybed that is in the pRP700/800. It was my understanding that the RP800 was to switch over to the same action as in the pRP but that has not happened as of yet. The pRP series uses a graded hammer action where the RP800 does not. Is there a big difference between the two actions? Not really as far as I am concerned, they both play just fine. Incidentally the GRP800 (grand case version) uses the same keybed as in the pRP series.

 

The 'not yet available' RP810 is supposed to use the same action as the pRP and GRP instruments while the 'not yet available' RP910 is to use the new TP40 WOOD action.

 

Flavirista, as niacin touched on above, the tonal dynamics and the control the player has over those dynamics are just as important as the physical feel of the keyboard. Both aspects really go hand in hand. An action that you really love attached to an inferior sound engine is going to be just as unsatisfying to play as a great sound being controlled by a lousy action. And then there is the reality that everyone has differing opinions on what sounds good and feels good, so while asking for advice is great, you need to be happy with the instrument you choose because you will be the one playing it.

 

One thing that I will disagree on though is the sympathetic resonance issue and whether it is important. Playing solo at home or on a gig or in the recording studio, it makes a big difference in the realism of the sound and is closer to the experience of playing an acoustic instrument. In an ensemble situation, probably not going to make a difference.

 

Best Regards,

 

Dave

Wm. David McMahan

I Play, Therefore I Am

 

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The reason why I mentioned the RP910 is that Flavirista is from Czech Republic, i.e. Europe, and I played one at Musikmesse 2007 on Saturday and there is a European shop having it in it's catalogue already: http://www.musik-schmidt.de/osc-schmidt/catalog/gem-rp910-schwarz-hochglanz-p-21821.html

 

Not sure when it will be truly available, but US people may have to wait a bit more until the big container ship to crossed the ocean I guess. But anyone not liking the RP800 action should wait for the RP910 and give it a try before buying anything else!!

 

As far as I can tell from all the other digital pianos I checked out (Kawai MP5, MP8-II and Roland FP7) GEM still has got the most realistic/inspiring/soulfull acoustic piano sound available in hardware :thu: This also holds for the RP700/RP800 of course...

 

It's unbelievable that a technology introduced with the Promega 3 back in 2002 is still beating everything else on the market. :eek:

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It's unbelievable that a technology introduced with the Promega 3 back in 2002 is still beating everything else on the market. :eek:

 

... and it is being done with only two sets of samples ... pp and ff.

 

It makes you wonder, Yamaha uses at least three for the actual piano sound and software programs (like Ivory) uses eight or more.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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It makes you wonder, Yamaha uses at least three for the actual piano sound and software programs (like Ivory) uses eight or more.

Yeah, but these sample layers are crossfaded. So you'll notice velocity switching when there are only 3..4 samples per key...

 

The GEM approach as two interpolation points at the borders (i.e. velocity=0 and velocity=127) and some smooth function in between whereas the others have some 3..4 points connected by lines, making the transition anything but smooooth :)

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Sorry for the misinformation and thanks to Dave McM for correcting things. I had read that GEM were going to switch to putting the new action in the RP800 but as Dave noted this hasn't happened.

 

Will there be a pRP810?

Keys: Hammond SK2, Hammond SK1, Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Waldorf STVC

Amplification: Line6 L3T, Yamaha DBR-10, Presonus Air 10, Leslie 122V

 

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