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Digital pianos with string resonance


AnotherScott

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Does anyone happen to know which portable digital pianos have string resonance, and whether they have both types that you would get on an acoustic piano? i.e.

 

1) Without using a sustain pedal, hitting a high C will create an additional string resonance if you are, for example, already holding down middle C, as it will trigger sympathetic vibrations from the undamped middle C strings, and

 

2) If the sustain pedal is down, hitting a high C will create a much greater string resonance effect, as it will trigger sympathetic vibrations throughout the undamped strings

 

What I know so far is that the Nord Piano does this, and that the Roland FP-7 has the second effect, but not the first. Comments on other models?

 

And finally, among models that implement these things, is the effect noticeably more authentic on some models than others?

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Someone on another board pointed me toward this nice resource, which others interested in this may find helpful:

 

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall10/279.html

 

though I'm not sure the info there is completely accurate. They show that the Roland pianos have both kinds of resonance, which does not seem to actually be the case... at least as far as I can tell from reading their manuals. As far as I can see, unless I missed something, the FP-4 and the FP-7 have pedal-down string resonance, but not key-down, whereas the RX-300GX has key-down but not pedal-down. Hmmm!

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Does it matter? Does string resonance matter in the total scheme of things?

 

There is so much that goes into replicating the sound of an acoustic piano besides string resonance that I would think one would look at the sound as a whole instead of trying to determine which models have which type of string resonance.

 

Pedal-down or key-down... it doesn't matter if the total package is a bad sound.

 

Of course, I could be wrong. It may make a HUGE difference.

 

So school me. :)

 

Tom

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Does it matter? Does string resonance matter in the total scheme of things?

 

There is so much that goes into replicating the sound of an acoustic piano besides string resonance that I would think one would look at the sound as a whole instead of trying to determine which models have which type of string resonance.

 

Pedal-down or key-down... it doesn't matter if the total package is a bad sound.

 

Of course, I could be wrong. It may make a HUGE difference.

 

So school me. :)

 

Tom

 

 

 

I'll preface this by saying that, at this point, this is more of academic interest to me rather than one of addressing some kind of absolute need.

 

But this actually relates to something else I mentioned in some thread a while back, that I think that when one asks about the "best" digital piano sound, there are two halves -- what sounds *good* and what sounds *real* -- and it's two different issues. I'm sure you've had the experience of walking into some bar or whatever and hearing piano coming from the other room, and it might not be a "good" sounding piano, but you have no doubt that it's a *real* piano.

 

"Good" is a very subjective thing. Put a Yamaha, Baldwin, and a Steinway grand in the same room, and you're not likely to get complete agreement about which sounds best. (Heck, put three Steinways in a room, and you'll have the same issue.) So when I hear people say that Roland pianos sound better than Yamaha pianos or that Yamaha pianos sound better than Nord pianos, or whatever, and I see clearly that there's no consensus, I chalk that up largely to personal taste, like saying that Bosendorfers sound better than Steinways.

 

But I think something that might be a little less subjective is how "real" they sound. Now, I don't expect any of them to sound like there's a real piano in the room. Put a microphone or two in a Steinway and listen to it piped into a pair of QSC PA speakers in another room, and I don't think you're going to be fooled into thinking there's actually a Steinway in that room either. The reproduction system imposes its own set of limitations. But you will probably think that you're at least listening a "transmission" of someone who is indeed playing a real piano.

 

All of which is my (long-winded) way of saying that I think there are lots of good piano sounds out there, and we won't agree on which are best, but we might find that there are certain attributes which tend to make them seem more real. And there's no doubt that, on a real piano, the sound is very different depending on whether a key is hit by itself, or with some other keys down, or with the pedal down. And I think the lack of that effect may be a good part of what makes various digital pianos sound less "real" apart from debating whether you prefer the sound of this one or that. Kind of the way people could generally tell clonewheels weren't "real" because of the Leslie effect. That doesn't necessarily mean that they weren't good, pleasing, musical, whatever... but they were less "real" than the original (at least pre-Ventilator). And I'm thinking that these kinds of resonance effects may be an equivalent aspect for pianos.

 

EDIT: I'm not suggesting this should be "the priority" and in fact, I kind of doubt it would actually even be noticeable in typical live band playing. But if doing solo gigs, or jazz trio, or just for your own pleasure, I think it might be significant. But as I said, this is academic interest, just an avenue I wanted to begin to pursue. Who knows, I could be completely wrong. :-)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I'm thinking that these kinds of resonance effects may be an equivalent aspect for pianos.

 

That's fair. :)

 

I'm looking forward to reading some responses on this topic.

 

Thanks -

 

Tom

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I only have a second, so this will be a rushed post - but Tom is right that nothing matters if the basic piano sound is bad.

 

Otherwise, string resonance is a step towards more acoustic realism and a step beyond the digitalness in DP AP sounds. Too much of it, like reverb or anything else isn't good, but adjusted well and it really adds to the impression of a piano.

 

The FP4 has pedal down resonance, and since the pedal is used a lot, it sounds natural.

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AnotherScott - I have just verified through testing that the RD300GX has both types of string resonance.

 

1) When you press a key slowly enough the note does not sound, just as one would expect from an acoustic piano. Holding down that note and playing the same note staccato at another octave causes the first note (or its harmonic) to ring until you release the unsounded note.

 

2) Playing and holding a note then pressing the sustain pedal causes other strings to vibrate sympathetically until you release the sustain pedal. Pressing the sustain pedal down again causes string resonance again, albeit at a lower amplitude.

 

This is one of the things I looked for when choosing a DP. AFAIK the behaviour is the same on all of the recent RDx00GX and FPx models.

 

I should also mention that all the above DPs support half- and partial- pedaling.

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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Fwiw I was just playing the Nord Piano (again :cry: ) and another pianist and myself were turning the the "String Resonance" switch off & on the NP. He'd play and I'd listen and vice versa. We came to the conclusion there was very little if any difference in the sound. He thought there was a little, I couldn't hear any to tell you the truth.

 

On the other hand, my CP-300 had the String Resonance". I don't know if that was the difference but it did sound better then my P120--the sustain was better on the CP-300. I'd also A/B'd it with the CP33 and other P models-the 140,155 which didn't have the SR and felt the CP-300 sound was superior.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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I wasn't able to compare the P140 & 155 with my own speakers since I didn't own those but I did own both the P120 and CP-300 and compared many times through my Dynaudio studio monitors, my EV SXA360 gigging speakers and the much loved Motion Sound KP-200 amp ;) . The CP-300 always won out. That is still a great ax, too bad it's so f...g heavy.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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Adjusting the amount of string resonance is the best way to tell, since turning the default string resonance on or off may not show enough of what the resonance can do.

 

Maybe a NP owner will educate me, but I don't think there is an adjustment for that, it's either on or off. If there is an adjustment function, I didn't see it on the front panel. I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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I wasn't able to compare the P140 & 155 with my own speakers since I didn't own those but I did own both the P120 and CP-300 and compared many times through my Dynaudio studio monitors, my EV SXA360 gigging speakers and the much loved Motion Sound KP-200 amp ;) . The CP-300 always won out. That is still a great ax, too bad it's so f...g heavy.

 

:thu: I figured you'd know enough to compare properly, Dave... just making sure the casual observer (who might not otherwise think about it) would be aware. :cool:

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Maybe a NP owner will educate me, but I don't think there is an adjustment for that, it's either on or off. If there is an adjustment function, I didn't see it on the front panel. I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time.
Dave, I would think there would be adjustments for it, but hey, maybe not. I just know that on my FP4, if the resonance isn't adjusted and just left at default, it's pretty useless.
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Adjusting the amount of string resonance is the best way to tell, since turning the default string resonance on or off may not show enough of what the resonance can do.

 

Maybe a NP owner will educate me, but I don't think there is an adjustment for that, it's either on or off. If there is an adjustment function, I didn't see it on the front panel. I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time.

 

According to the manual, it's adjustable via the "Sound" menu +/- 6dB (with 0dB as the default).

 

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AnotherScott - I have just verified through testing that the RD300GX has both types of string resonance.

 

1) When you press a key slowly enough the note does not sound, just as one would expect from an acoustic piano. Holding down that note and playing the same note staccato at another octave causes the first note (or its harmonic) to ring until you release the unsounded note.

 

2) Playing and holding a note then pressing the sustain pedal causes other strings to vibrate sympathetically until you release the sustain pedal. Pressing the sustain pedal down again causes string resonance again, albeit at a lower amplitude.

 

This is one of the things I looked for when choosing a DP. AFAIK the behaviour is the same on all of the recent RDx00GX and FPx models.

Thanks for the first-hand report. Interesting that such a sophisticated implementation does not appear to be mentioned in their marketing materials or owners' manual!

 

In addition to the two scenarios you describe, if you play a note with the pedal already down, do you hear the kind of string resonance that you get on a real piano? It's stronger than the amount you get if you depress the pedal after striking the note.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I would argue that the Roland piano engine is the most sophisticated available in a hardware implementation. Within the PIANO DESIGNER function you have control over:

 

1) LID POSITION

2) DAMPER NOISE (whoosh when pedal is depressed)

3) DUPLEX SCALE RESONANCE (google that one)

4) STRING RESONANCE (silent depressed notes resonate depending on others struck)

5) KEY OFF RESONANCE

6) HAMMER NOISE (a parameter the Nord Piano could use, IMO)

7) STRETCH TUNING

8) 100 LEVEL OF KEY TOUCH RESPONSE customizable for each preset.

 

The sustain pedal down effect is not found in the PIANO DESIGNER parameters, rather it is a MULTI-EFFECT, i.e. EFFECT #78, SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE.

 

As MonksDream pointed out, the above capabilities can be found on most all of the newer RD and FP series.

 

Yamaha uses a sustain pedal effect on some units but on others, like the CP-300, they incorporate actual pedal down samples.

 

There are many factors that you need to consider when audition/comparing the various digital pianos. Most of these effects are VERY subtle and can only really be heard through headphones.

 

Busch.

 

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Within the PIANO DESIGNER function you have control over:

 

1) LID POSITION

2) DAMPER NOISE (whoosh when pedal is depressed)

3) DUPLEX SCALE RESONANCE (google that one)

4) STRING RESONANCE (silent depressed notes resonate depending on others struck)

5) KEY OFF RESONANCE

6) HAMMER NOISE (a parameter the Nord Piano could use, IMO)

7) STRETCH TUNING

8) 100 LEVEL OF KEY TOUCH RESPONSE customizable for each preset.

 

The sustain pedal down effect is not found in the PIANO DESIGNER parameters, rather it is a MULTI-EFFECT, i.e. EFFECT #78, SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE.

Ah, that's why I missed it, they implemented it as an "effect" as opposed to a basic sound parameter. So the two kinds of resonance, conceptually similar, are discussed in entirely different sections of the manual, 30 pages apart, at least on the RD-300GX. I shouldn't be surprised, Roland manuals are often a bit of a scavenger hunt!

 

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Musicale - Are you suggesting that the fine-grained control Roland offers is merely a way to avoid comparison between their product and a 'real' piano? or that 'time spent adjusting the sound to one's liking' is an unproductive distraction from their 'valuable practice time'? If so, I disagree with both statements. If Roland didn't offer that level control some users would berate them for leaving it out. There's no pleasing some people.
Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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There's no pleasing some people.
I think what you mean in this context is, "you can't please all the people all of the time." ;)

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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MD Not at all. Just an observation on the Marketing aspect of Roland and pretty much all of the other creators of today's electronic instruments. A synth is one thing where you are actually creating the sound from scratch. I don't know the instrument, but I find the way that they are presented is rather fascinating. I myself don't seem to have the desire or time, for that matter, to explore the nuances of adjusting the parameters to create a personal sound. I guess that's just a sign of my age. I like to sit down at my favorite instrument (Acoustic piano and Hammond Organ) and play my ass off. No adjustments available. What you hear is what you get. This is hard enough.

 

By the way I stll shoot with film based cameras. I do respect and appreciate all of your comments.

 

Regards,

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Ah Dave,

 

Haven't heard from you for awhile. I am surprised you did not chirp in on the GEM piano string resonance !

 

I guess you got out early befoe they went down. Yeah I can still smell the developer. I used to be able to tell the temperature of the bath just by touching the solution with my fingers ! (The old days before the latex gloves......

 

Hope all is well

Musicale

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I hear you loud and clear, Musicale. I think most of us don't have the desire to menu-dive endlessly in search of that 'perfect' tweak and we just 'plug and pray' for the most part. The highest praise you can give a DP is that it sounds great 'out of the box'.

 

Kudos on still using film!

 

All the best,

 

MD

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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