Digital piano --> hi-fi speakers

admin_exported

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I doubt if anyone has any experience or info on this but I will take a shot at it and ask.

I play the piano and own a yamaha clp digital piano. This is one of the higher end models. It sounds great, one can hardly tell the difference of the sound of it from a real acoustic piano. Of course only if that "one" is someone without much experience listening to acoustic pianos:)

I am planning to hook up the piano's aux out to my hi-fi sound system's amplifier's aux in. I don't have the required cable and don't want to go through the trouble of finding it and buying it unless I know I will like the result.

So the question is: are the piano's speakers what makes it sound like a real one or is it the piano's in-built sound generator, sound source, or whatever substitutes for our cd players in an hi-fi sound system, what makes it sound so good?

To hook up the piano to the amplifier I need to move the piano into the living room, it weighs more than 100 kilos, this is another reason why I want to know if I will like the result. I know the sound will have more volume, fill up the room better, have more punch to it but these would be useless if the sound loses the real acoustic piano feel. So, anybody with anything to say about this? Thanks in advance.
 

Big Chris

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It's gonna depend on the quality of your Hi-Fi as much as anything else. What is it?

Also, if you're talking about a long pair of phono/RCA cables, these can be dirt cheap, and you can get RCA - 6.4mm jack adapters if you need them.

As for it sounding like an acoustic piano......:?
 

Big Chris

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I would think with nice big speakers like yours, they would be able to convey more scale than the Piano's own speakers. Having said that, you have said it's a top spec one, so can only advise you to try it and see.

I've just found a 10 metre RCA cable on eBay for £2.29 with free postage! Also, if you need them, RCA - 6.4mm jack adapters for £1.98.

If it does sound good, you can always upgrade to a better cable (if you believe in such things);)
 

oldric_naubhoff

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I think that unless you're intending to swap your speakers to some planar speakers (like Quad, Magnepan, or better still Podium Sound) you may not be fully satisfied with the result. box speakers are too directional for diffuse sounding instruments like piano to sound realistic.

I deliberately point out Podium Sound speakers as the reference as the guy who makes them is a professional pianist and was involved in R&D on electric pianos. the aim was to make electric pianos sound as natural as possible so they come up with this new type of panel speaker which where diaphragm vibrates rather like ripples on water not back and forth like conventional box speaker drivers.
 

Big Chris

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I run my electric drums through a Kenwood amp & Eltax floorstanders, and it doesn't sound bad at all. Not a patch on my 'proper' drums of course, but then drums are a different kettle of fish to pianos.
 

Cpt.Issues

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I've wondered about this myself, didn't bring a piano with me when I moved out, let me know how this goes as I'm considering doing the same thing (though currently looking for digital pianos). I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work fine?

Don't mean to hijack the thread here but are there any recommendations that spring to mind around the £400 mark?
 

MajorFubar

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Have you any kind of digital recorder or tape recorder you can plug your piano into, record something and try that through you HiFi? It'll give you a good idea about what it'll sound like and doesn't involve shifting 100kg of piano.
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks a lot for all the answers.

- Even if the result is outstanding I am not planning to play the piano through speakers frequently. I have a digital piano because I need to be able to turn the volume down (more than the silence pedal on an acoustic does). I turn it up only when I'm alone at home or playing to an audience (guests, friends etc). So I can't swap the speakers with planar ones just for this.

- I don't have a recorder of any kind. I guess I could record it with the computer's line-in and some software, put it in a cd and play the cd through the system. Though I think it wouldn't be a good indicator of what the sound with the cable would be like because well, it would be quite the same as playing other piano cd's with the cd player.

- aaand as I was encouraged by some of the replies I did walk to the nearby store and buy the cable. 1.5 meters, 24 karat gold connectors, phillips, 20 dolars. They had two kinds, the other one was 3 dolars. I don't think cable quality makes an audible difference but whatever...

- How does it sound? No idea. Mother sleeping in the bedroom which is not far from the living room and father watching tv in the living room. I will have to wait until I'm alone.

P.S. People my age, go to a college far enough from home that you will have live in a separate house. Living with parents sucks.
 

millerman

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I hifi

I have a Yamaha Clp and have often wondered the same. The point of this piano though is the near acoustic sound that the Piano creates. This is done by the quality of the speaker and its position. This is something that Hi FI speakers can’t create. I also have some really good Hifi Speakers.

Yamaha spend a fortune sampling the sound of a very expensive grand piano so the source, if you like, is very good. The speakers are also high end, so Im not sure what additionally you are going to get. But hey its worth a try.

By the way I bought this piano after being fooled into thinking it was an acoustic piano. The sound is fantastic.

Let me know how you get on
 

matthewpiano

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Firstly, the sound is never going to rival a real acoustic piano. Digitals have got massively better in recent years and Roland, Kawai, and Yamaha all make excellent products, especially the Kawai CA 'Concert Artist' models, the top-end Yamaha CLPs, the Roland HPi7, and the Yamaha AvantGrand. Ultimately though, a sampled piano sound (sampled at no more than 3 or 4 different velocities per key) is never going to sound like a hammer hitting a string and the resonance of a real piano soundboard.

However, I often find that the samples are limited by the quality of the on-board amplification and speakers, although to be honest Yamaha are better at this side of things than most. It is possible to get better sound by using external speakers but positioning these speakers is very important. Simply playing through a pair of speakers set up for hi-fi duties isn't going to work in a convincing way. I've generally found good quality actives positioned around or close to the piano give the best compromise, although it is only ever a compromise.

Yamaha's premium AvantGrand models use a real grand piano action for the keyboard side of things and carefully placed speaker units to imitate the main points of a piano which generate sound. It is amazing how much difference the speaker placement makes compared to the same sample being used in a top-end Clavinova model.

The best sound you'll get from a digital piano is through really good quality headphones.

The other option is to consider an acoustic piano with a proper silent function. By this I don't mean the normal practice pedal which lowers a strip of felt between the hammers and strings. On silent acoustics the middle pedal lowers a stop rail which stops the hammer shanks late in their travel so that the hammers don't hit the strings. Sensors below the keys (Yamaha Silent System) or in the action itself (Kawai Anytime) then feed a small digital box which generates a digital sample through headphones. What this means is that you have a standard model acoustic piano for the times when you can play away to your heart's content, and a digital option for those private practice times. With line outputs on the system you always have the option of driving active speakers or an amplifier as well. Most makers of acoustic pianos offer silent options at extra cost.

Just for clarity, I do work in a music shop as a piano specialist. I am trying not to advertise anything here, just share some information with you.
 

bwv572

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I don't have direct experience of the Yamaha but I have tried a digital piano through a NAD amp into a pair of B&W685s. The sound was quite nice and fairly true to the sound but the speakers were to one side and it was really weird. As Matthewpiano says, positioning is really important and I'd guess you'd have to work at it a bit to be able fool yourself that the sound and the piano were in the same place.
 
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Anonymous

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My Clavinova sounds best through my Grado SR60s. Huge difference over previous headphones I owned and makes it sound like a real piano. Much better than the speakers in the actual piano.

Along those lines external speakers might be able to improve the sound, and presumably even a budget hifi system would improve the sound (though mine is not so high range: CLP 150 and 8 years old). The only thing I would worry about is that what you're playing becomes a little dissociated from the piano - after all, the sound is meant to come from it and that adds to the pleasure of playing.

If you're gigging festive tunes for family over Christmas that might be less of an issue.
 
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Anonymous

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John Duncan said:
Oh come on. It's going to sound better than the speakers in the Yam, no question. Just get BC's two quid cable and try it!
Not necessarily. Some Yamaha digital piano's have a actual resonance chamber much like a real upright piano. The bass weight these things can produce rivals the best subwoofers.
 

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