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Marlinark
09-24-2009, 11:35 PM
Which one is better?

Actually really ... what is the difference

Malcolm
09-24-2009, 11:48 PM
Depends on how you will use them. Keyboard is easier to carry to a gig, that is obvious. They are less expensive, smaller, etc.

An acoustic piano is what the keyboards are engineered to sound like. The more you pay the closer the keyboard will come to sounding like an acoustic piano. An acoustic piano is also a piece of furniture, if you have the space and the money go with the piano, if not look at a keyboard.

bluesking
09-25-2009, 12:23 AM
The quality of keyboard sounds has been rocketing up in recent years. Most keyboards (even of budget price) do a pretty good piano sound, providing you put it through an appropriate amp.

They are also more versatile because they often have other interesting sounds.

Really, though, as you pay more and more for a keyboard what you get is better action. Cheap keyboards have keys which don't bounce back in the same way. More expensive keyboards have "weighted keys" which simulate the bounce that a piano has when the hammer returns to place.

Having a good action is very important to a keyboardist's playing style. Some things can only be played when that "bounce" is there!

fingerpikingood
09-25-2009, 06:44 PM
keyboards are electronic, pianos are mechanical.

for me, the decision is simple, keyboard.

i'd get a keyboard with good action that can be portable and has speakers. the one i want is the yamaha p85.

what's cool about keyboards is you can record in midi, this means you can map any sounds of any instrument to the keyboard if you get good sample packs for it.

what else is cool is that you can edit what you played in your midi editor for recording, and fix mistakes you may have made.

some keyboards have what's called really good action, weighted keys. this means they feel alot like a real piano does. this to me is real important.

sound wise they're really good now also, but this depends one you buy and/or on the sample packs you use with it.

but as far as sound and feel goes, real pianos are much better than keyboards, but as all things it also depends on how much you spend, you could find a keyboard that has better feel and sound than a piano does, just like you can find a girl that's better at sports than a guy is. but the olympics are split in sexe department for a reason, because in general men are better at physical activity than women are. same for the pianos. in general pianos are better for feel and sound than keyboards.

but you can put headphones on for you keyboard, and map drums and cellos and horns to your keyboard, all with great sound, and you can carry it around more easily.

so for me, i'd get a good keyboard over a piano, but a nothing beats a great real acoustic piano for great piano sound and feel. that's why you could spend a quarter of a million dollars on one.

Ludwig
10-07-2009, 05:58 AM
I have never found a keyboard that sounds as good or feels as good as a real piano and I have played lots of them. (I used to work at a music store.)

That said, you are really comparing apples to oranges. Do you mind the weight? Will you need to gig with it? Can you spare the space? Do you have the bucks? Do you mind having it tuned twice a year? What does your wife say, etc, etc.

Apples to oranges.

JonR
10-07-2009, 10:33 AM
Piano only has one sound, and is not portable.

So it depends on (a) how much you like that one sound (no keyboard gets really close to it), and (b) whether you need to carry your instrument from place to place (ie for gigs).

(b) is going to be the deciding factor for many. If you are gigging (and either there is no piano at the venue, or you don't want to risk it being out of tune or unplayable for whatever reason), then you have no option but a digital/electronic version. (Well, unless you have 3 or 4 roadies willing to cart a real piano around for you... and if you're that fussy, you'll be worried about damaging it or putting it out of tune...)
There are digital/electronic keyboards with very good actions that feel pretty close to a real piano (Yamaha P90 is one of the recognised best).
It then comes down to the sounds they make, or the sounds you can get from a MIDI module. That's personal taste of course. Few pianists will regard a digital sound as anything but an inferior copy, but for many purposes it will do the job. Eg, for rock gigs, nobody (apart from the pianist) is going to care. (Recorded piano sounds are processed in many artificial ways anyway, and were probably digital to begin with.)
Also, of course, an electronic set-up means the volume and sound can be more easily controlled. Even a very good acoustic piano is subject to whatever PA system is used - a miked up Steinway may sound worse than a digital keyboard through an amp. Also most digital pianos have more than one sound onboard (none of them quite as good as a real one, but at least there's variety - you'll probably get organ sounds and others too...)

An additional aspect - (c) - is if you just want to use it at home, but either space is at a premium, or noise is a problem. In that case, a keyboard is preferable because it's smaller, and you can play it through headphones and annoy no-one.

But it remains the case that no pianist is fully satisfied until they have a real acoustic machine under their hands...

bluesking
10-07-2009, 10:41 AM
Piano only has one sound, and is not portable.

So it depends on (a) how much you like that one sound (no keyboard gets really close to it), and (b) whether you need to carry your instrument from place to place (ie for gigs).

(b) is going to be the deciding factor for many. If you are gigging (and either there is no piano at the venue, or you don't want to risk it being out of tune or unplayable for whatever reason), then you have no option but a digital/electronic version. (Well, unless you have 3 or 4 roadies willing to cart a real piano around for you... and if you're that fussy, you'll be worried about damaging it or putting it out of tune...)
There are digital/electronic keyboards with very good actions that feel pretty close to a real piano (Yamaha P90 is one of the recognised best).
It then comes down to the sounds they make, or the sounds you can get from a MIDI module. That's personal taste of course. Few pianists will regard a digital sound as anything but an inferior copy, but for many purposes it will do the job. Eg, for rock gigs, nobody (apart from the pianist) is going to care. (Recorded piano sounds are processed in many artificial ways anyway, and were probably digital to begin with.)
Also, of course, an electronic set-up means the volume and sound can be more easily controlled. Even a very good acoustic piano is subject to whatever PA system is used - a miked up Steinway may sound worse than a digital keyboard through an amp. Also most digital pianos have more than one sound onboard (none of them quite as good as a real one, but at least there's variety - you'll probably get organ sounds and others too...)

An additional aspect - (c) - is if you just want to use it at home, but either space is at a premium, or noise is a problem. In that case, a keyboard is preferable because it's smaller, and you can play it through headphones and annoy no-one.

But it remains the case that no pianist is fully satisfied until they have a real acoustic machine under their hands...

There is another advantage to keyboards which everyone is forgetting (or forgetting to mention): synths!!! OK, perhaps synths aren't everyone's bag. But I don't think its fair to compare keyboard only on how well they model existing acoustic instruments. I have yet to see someone use a Steinway to make DX7 sounds. I have already seen someone use a Roland keyboard to play a very plausible "Prelude in C# minor" and the tone (although not as good as a real piano) was believable.

As a side issue, for my money & the type of music I play, what I enjoy most is when I can jam with a Fender Rhodes through a Fender amp. Delicious!

jimc8p
10-07-2009, 12:52 PM
OK, perhaps synths aren't everyone's bag. But I don't think its fair to compare keyboard only on how well they model existing acoustic instruments.
Besides the fact that this thread was originally spam..keyboard has an amazing amount more potential than acoustic piano. Keyboards can in fact model instruments, for all intents and purposes, to perfection. There's a very rare and old harpsichord (I think) which was recorded to create a sample synth that captured every minute nuance of each key at various velocities. More or less a perfect digital replica. Obviously this kind of thing has a massive amount of potential.

fingerpikingood
10-07-2009, 03:01 PM
Ya you can get great sample packs that have different sounds for the different ntoes, and different velocitices you play. on a recording they're quite copmarable to the real thing. there are many nuances and stuff.

but the fact of the matter is, live it's another story, for the musician it's another story, because although the sounds correlate correctly with velocities, and your action on your piano is pretty good, you're still not hitting a key that moving a hammer that's bouncing off strings of correct tightness for that sound, and with correct feedback for that velocity, and consequently vibrating the entire body of the piano and filling the whole instrument, and therefore room, with the sound comming off those strings.

whereas a keyboard the sound is coming out of speakers. but on a recording there's not much difference there, even if you wanted to multi mic your piano, there are ways of faking this digitally.

but ya i didn't metnion synths specifically, but what i meant was you can map any sound and any instrument to your keyboard via midi. DX7s are a little old and difficult to write nice modern synths though. I like FM8 from native instruments for that.

but ya a midi keyboard is incredibly versatile, portable, and nowadays have pretty good action. but they still can't replace a real piano all other things being equal i'd always prefer to play a real piano over a keybard, even if the keyboard has better sounds mapped to it.

bluesking
10-07-2009, 03:10 PM
but ya i didn't metnion synths specifically, but what i meant was you can map any sound and any instrument to your keyboard via midi. DX7s are a little old and difficult to write nice modern synths though. I like FM8 from native instruments for that.

DX7s rule. If you want to play funk, disco, hip hop, any of that kind of stuff they are where its at! Pretty hard to get hold of and maintain nowadays of course, and I'll take your word on how hard they are to program. I have never tried programming one.

JonR
10-07-2009, 03:35 PM
There is another advantage to keyboards which everyone is forgetting (or forgetting to mention): synths!!! Well yes of course! But I was assuming because the OP was asking for comparisons with a piano, he/she was interested in a relatively close resemblance...

After all, you may as well ask "guitar or synth?" Synths can make guitar sounds... sort of... (no less realistic than most of their other sounds...) Much more versatile than a guitar in countless ways. But as a guitarist, would you ever be happy? I doubt it. ;)

JonR
10-07-2009, 03:36 PM
Besides the fact that this thread was originally spam..:confused: I must have missed that.

bluesking
10-07-2009, 03:45 PM
Well yes of course! But I was assuming because the OP was asking for comparisons with a piano, he/she was interested in a relatively close resemblance...

After all, you may as well ask "guitar or synth?" Synths can make guitar sounds... sort of... (no less realistic than most of their other sounds...) Much more versatile than a guitar in countless ways. But as a guitarist, would you ever be happy? I doubt it. ;)

I sort of get your point. But you play a synth using a keyboard interface, same as a piano. Yes, sure there are MIDI guitars, but they are pretty rare (although Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is a big fan of them I think).

I have a bit of a cold feeling for synths which attempt to sound like another instrument. It is never really satisfactory. But synths have their own value, when they are not trying to impersonate another instrument and this is where I think they belong.

JonR
10-07-2009, 04:10 PM
I sort of get your point. But you play a synth using a keyboard interface, same as a piano. Yes, sure there are MIDI guitars, but they are pretty rare (although Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is a big fan of them I think).

I have a bit of a cold feeling for synths which attempt to sound like another instrument. It is never really satisfactory. But synths have their own value, when they are not trying to impersonate another instrument and this is where I think they belong.Sure.
I've always been somewhat surprised that synths haven't yet taken over music-making in a bigger way. Their flexibility of sound manipulation is staggering. (Using them to just copy "natural" acoustic instruments is a bit like the way early movie films were made to look like theatre plays. Pointless and short-sighted.)
I guess musicians (and audiences too) are just a highly conservative bunch.:rolleyes: (and I suppose I include myself in that. But then I'm 60, so I've got an excuse. ;) )

jimc8p
10-07-2009, 11:29 PM
I've always been somewhat surprised that synths haven't yet taken over music-making in a bigger way. Their flexibility of sound manipulation is staggering. (Using them to just copy "natural" acoustic instruments is a bit like the way early movie films were made to look like theatre plays. Pointless and short-sighted.)
I guess musicians (and audiences too) are just a highly conservative bunch.:rolleyes: (and I suppose I include myself in that. But then I'm 60, so I've got an excuse. ;) )
I think you'd be suprised how much midi is used in music production...I would say it's almost completely taken over in the grand scheme of things. A fully acoustic record is pretty much a rarity..most people don't realise that even today's mainstream rock is using synthesised guitars and drums. And of course the value of emulating orchestral or 'ethnic' music is obvious (basically everything you hear on the TV and in films.)

Here's a reasonably priced guitar synth just to give an idea of the sound quality attainable with an amateur budget (listen to 'A Tour of the Guitars'). Not the best, but a good example..

http://www.vir2.com/4DCGI/vir2/products/acousticlegendshd/index.html?1236

Ludwig
10-24-2009, 05:28 AM
But synths have their own value, when they are not trying to impersonate another instrument and this is where I think they belong.I could not agree more. Back in the days of the Juno, DX7 and Polysix instrument makers prided themselves in developing sounds that had never been heard before.

Then came sample playback and all the manufacturers worry about is how good the guitar sounds, how realistic the piano sounds, does the violin sound authentic. I already have a guitar dang it; I don't need a keyboard for that.

Then comes general midi. Oh boy, a new keyboard with 128 sounds just like the other general midi keyboards by the other companies. "Hey, our 128 sounds are better than your 128 of the same sounds!"

I want my synths to play sounds no one has ever heard before, just like it used to be. Sorry for the diatribe.

fingerpikingood
10-24-2009, 04:49 PM
you can make your own sounds any way you want using Frequency modulation just like the DX7 did, except nowadays you have even more freedom with it and you can add more effects to it, using a program such as FM8. really cool program. you can make any giant number of sounds you've never heard before.

you can even load in some DX7 presets and then edit themto your liking.

the DX7 was really quite simple in how it worked, and the possibilities for sounds you could create were not incredibly varied, i mean you could make distinctive sounds with it, but still you were quite limited. FM8 has many more features, i think more frequencies you can modulate, more precise ways in which to modulate them, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

if this is the kind of thing you like, then I really think you should go out and buy this. it comes with a bunch of presets of course. but the ability to make your own sounds from scratch is huge.

the learning curve is a little steep at first though. they use complicated words like frequency modulation, and stuff like that, and everything looks so technical in the editing pane, with graphs and buttons and stuff, but once you kind of know what everything does it gets much easier and is in fact not as complicated as it seems when you first look at it.

you could probably find videos on youtube for it, as well as some tutorial stuff for it. it comes with helpful ressources too like tutorials and stuff. as i remember, i haven't used it in a little while from the sound producing point of view, but i seem to recall a tutorial of sorts that showed you how to make an instrument from scratch.


not only does it play sounds you've never heard before, it plays sounds nobody's ever heard before.

you can do cool stuff like making 2 sounds from scratch and then blending them together to get some of the character from one you like and some from the other. this program is really cool if DX7 style (frequyency modulated) synth sounds are your bag.

as for me, ya i like those, but i also like midi drumkits that sounds incredibly real, and pianos that sound incredibly real, and cellos and violins and trumpets and saxes. because i can't learn that many instruments. and i don't have enough money to buy all of those, nor hire an orchestra to play for me.

in the DX7 days though you were basically stuck with frequency modulated sounds for midi, so you had to use those cheap imitations of the real thing. and i found DX7 sounds actually quite boring. you can make much more exciting instruments with FM8.

also there's a bunch of other digital instrument software that comes in the komplete bundles. i think they're at 6 now.

you get FM8 a bunch of other different but electronic or digital typed sound making and tweaking devices. you get kontakt for real instruments, you get akoustic pianos for some pianos, you get guitar rig which is like having a whole collection of amps and effects for your guitar, you get battery also which is for drums and percussions.

so idk, if all that stuff interests you then that's something to look into as well.

the guitar rig stuff is really cool too, you can get a pedal for it too where you can map functions to it, and use it as your wawa. there's a bunch of presets that famous people used in certain songs, like jimi hendrix's little wing setup. a whole bunch of stuff like that. really cool, you basically instantly can make your guitar sound like anything you want.

of course there is the limitation of your guitar, like you won't get your strat to sound exactly like a les paul, but you can put your strat through amps and cabinets, choosing your mic distance and reverb and limiting and compression in kinds of setups similar to what they might have used on some songs you liked where they played a les paul. and all though you won't get all the way there, you can still get pretty close. 80s shreddingm, clean jazz, jimi hendrix, U2 style delayish stuff, pretty much anything you could think of

(this post was brought to you by native instruments) ;) lol

Marlinark
10-29-2009, 09:33 PM
Wow, very technical software as you said.

Is this compatible with most amps?
Do you need a type of midi hookup?

fingerpikingood
10-30-2009, 02:08 AM
Wow, very technical software as you said.

Is this compatible with most amps?
Do you need a type of midi hookup?
well really what you'd want in most cases for this is an audio interface. a box that plugs into your computer usb or firewire and in there you can plug your midi so you can control it with a piano keyboard, and also it's good for recording guitar or vocals. i got an edirol ua-25ex second hand almost new for 150$ CA roughly 70quid two inputs for 1.4 inch or phantom power xlr mics. also with midi in the back.

there's a headphones jack on the one i have, not sure how that would work through an amp, but also there are outputs on the back that are stereo either digital spdif or RCA or also 1/4 inch.

so you could feed that for sure into your amp.

trhe other advantage of such hardware is that it allows for low latency recording. iow you could feed your guitar through your guitar rig software, and then use equalizers on it, and compressors limiters, reverb and all that good stuff, and hear your sound with all those effects on it, with a track playing in the background, without any delay between your playing and your hearing what you're playing.

of course for this, a powerful computer is also pretty key.


if you don't get an audio interface though, then you won't really be able to feed it out through an amp unless you get a cable that switches from small headphone jack into 1/4 inch, which would be ok i guess.

and also you'd want a midi input for playing the sounds with your keyboard.

the thing that's important though is that your soundcard is compatible with asio drivers.

this is what audio interfaces are designed to do, but you can also get what's called ASIO4ALL which is a free driver download that is supposed to give ASIO support to regular soundcards. but this is hit or miss. i think audigy soundblaster cards support ASIO.

but if you have that, then ya, any usb midi plug should work i think.

if your card doesn't work with ASIO4ALL or come with its own ASIO drivers, then you'd need to upgrade it because you'll get a delay on your keyboard.

even a small delay is impossible to play with. well technically there will always be a small delay, and even in real like there is the delay of the time it takes the sound to leave your instrument and go inside your ears and your brain process it. but if you go less than 10 milliseconds of delay that's passable. if you can get i'd say less that 6 or 7 then you're real good. without ASIO you're looking at like 40.

Ludwig
12-08-2009, 04:20 AM
FM is old hat. So much newer technology has evolved since then. I have tried FM8 and it is fun but I actually still own a TX81Z and I would rather pull it out of the closet and blow the dust off than play with a software simulation.

fingerpikingood
12-08-2009, 07:13 AM
ya, i recently discovered the difference between digital and analog audio. digital audio actually cannot replicate square and sawtooth waves exactly right. maybe that's what you mean, idk, cause i'm not familiar with the TX81Z. what is it exactly? but still, i find the FM8 pretty cool and quite versatile as far as software goes. and as far as the limitations of digital over analog audio. I'd like to hear the same sawtooth fm synthesis algorithm, one through analog and one through digital though to see the actual difference in practice.

el_macleod
01-26-2010, 04:00 AM
I could not agree more. Back in the days of the Juno, DX7 and Polysix instrument makers prided themselves in developing sounds that had never been heard before.

Then came sample playback and all the manufacturers worry about is how good the guitar sounds, how realistic the piano sounds, does the violin sound authentic. I already have a guitar dang it; I don't need a keyboard for that.

Then comes general midi. Oh boy, a new keyboard with 128 sounds just like the other general midi keyboards by the other companies. "Hey, our 128 sounds are better than your 128 of the same sounds!"

I want my synths to play sounds no one has ever heard before, just like it used to be. Sorry for the diatribe.

Quoted for truth

fingerpikingood
01-26-2010, 05:10 AM
there are loads of VSTs with loads of algorithms far more complex than the ones used for those relics, and you can tweak them and shape them, or create your own from scratch with far superior interfaces, and far superior control than with those old synths.

and on top of that you can sound much more realistic. ya, you have a guitar, maybe, but do you have a fully mic'd drumkit? and a full orchestra? and the exact reverb you get from playing in the sidney opera house?

you can get all of these and much more with VSTs.


there is only one thing those old machines and other analog instruments have over VSTs, and that's that they are analog.

digital, as you might already know, works in an on/off way. this can cause a problem for sound, which is not on/off, but a continuous wave of vibration.

so, digital works by taking samples. basically just points of data where only volume is recorded. the frequency of these points of data is called the sample rate. typically for CD and stuff this is at 44100.

but these are just volume signals recorded at one point in time, not sound. so for digital sound they must use those points and "connect the dots" using algorithms that figure out the only possible way to put sinusoidal waves between those specific combinations of points.

but not all sound is sinusoidal, there are sawtooth waves, square topped waves and stuff like that. which those algorithms do not recreated as waves in these shapes, the waves must be rounded and sinusoidal.

therefore, for those specific types of sounds are basically emulated in digital, whereas are real with analog systems.

that's really the only benefit of using physical analog systems rather than software VSTs, all other things being equal. well that and dependability from dropouts and stuff, but if your computer is strong enough, that should not be a problem. also, obviously you might like the sound of a certain piece of kit over the equivalents that have been constructed in software form, just like you mike like one analog unit over another. but that's not really a analog vs digital thing. just a general preference thing.

but basically if you want new sounds that you've never heard before, they're out there, enough for you to spend hours and hours experimenting with them. and an infinity more if you want to spend the time tweaking shaping or creating some yourself.

Fm8 might be starting to get old, but DX7 is much older, and Fm8 uses the same frequency modulation technology for creating algorithms, but in a far more complex way. there are other digital effects also. so much stuff that hasn't been played with yet. you can take Fm8 and build a sound, and then layer on top of it, some other digital sound you created with some other VST, and then run that through an amp simulator, and a distortion pedal, and a wa wa pedal, and then layer in some drumhits at the very beginning of every hit but use compressor to mute them out or shape them to only apply attack, or do that with a sample of sort of bell. then run all that through any kind of reverb, and then EQ the whole thing. the possibilities are literally endless. but ya, you'd have to build alot of these things yourself. but same for guitar, you need to layer a bunch of effects to get certain sounds. that's part of the art of it. although it might be cool if people did crazy layering like this of samples in order to create new sounds instead of just frequency modulation, kind of the way they mixed lion roars and elephants and i think whales to make the jurassic park dinosaur roaring, and then packaged those for sale as pre-made sounds for synths, but this might be a harder sell, because you'd have to explain it like, "buy my whole bunch of random sounds i created in a bunch of random ways, i swear they sound great" but still, it might be cool if things like that existed, i'll give you that.

Chordy_Ordy25
02-26-2010, 04:03 AM
Keyboard handsdown! So much more versatile and portable. The self-recording feature that a lot of them come with is nice too.