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Replacing the atrocious sound system on a ,000 digital piano
Replacing the atrocious sound system on a ,000 digital piano
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Old 10th February 2019, 08:31 PM   #11
computerpro3 is offline computerpro3  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Thanks for all the responses everyone, I'm sorry the images did not work properly - I'll work on fixing that tonight.

Interesting thread! Can I ask why you don’t simply take the output from the line out (at least the specs claim there is one) and run that to your own amp/speakers?
The reason I don't want to do that is precisely because of my answer to you below

But I wonder if it really sounds better than some of the aftermarket grand piano samples like ivory? It is hard to gauge from the marketing material but i am curious what your impression is?
I am a long-time digital piano hater, so to speak. I studied piano at a Steinway school, so all I ever played on for several years were brand new Steinway D and Bs. No digital piano could ever get close in terms of action or sound.

Several years ago, I began experimenting with getting a better sound out of my previous Kawai digital piano. I got into VSTs and purchased Ivory, Garritan, etc. Some of them sounded quite good, but they weren't playable - I could clearly feel the steps in between each sample in terms of dynamics, and it just wasn't controllable to me for good music making.

Pianoteq changed everything. The built-in Steinway instrument is quite bad, but the Bluthner instrument with a lot of custom tweaking to resonances, wear level, and mic placement is a revelation. Combining that with EastWest Spaces convolution reverb, I am able to get recordings that are indistinguishable from a real acoustic grand in a concert hall. And as a mathematically modeled piano, there are no recorded samples - which means no "steps" other than Midi levels. It's an amazing piece of software, and combined with the real acoustic grand action on this new Kawai, I am able to replicate basically 99% of the experience of playing on a top-flight acoustic grand.

Now, the new piano does have a line-in - so I can actually take the Pianoteq signal from the computer and play it through the piano speakers when I am playing for others. But the built-in system is so bad that I need to upgrade it first.

can't believe this doesn't have a headphone output: With silence feature when you have a plug in that socket.

Use that through a 1/8" stereo to dual 1/4 phone plugs or something to go to an external amp. Or if you are terribly interested in 28-54 hz, separate out a 3rd channel with a crossover for subwoofer amplifier .
It does have a headphone output, but it has an entire EQ section in hardware that is designed for headphones. I found the block diagram of the circuit in a service manual so now I have a bit more clarity.

I get very good sound out of my $699 ea new ( I bought them used.) SP2 speakers, on poles above and around my Hammond theatre organ. I play piano CD's all the time, it sounds very good. I use about 1/4 watt base level, (1.5 vpp 8 ohms) but for the peaks of hammer hit on ff passages I have 70 watts/ch. 200 w/ch would not be unrealistic on piano, with my 101 db 1w 1m speakers. The SP2 are +-3db 54 hz -14 khz. I don't have any hearing above 14 khz so I don't miss it. These speakers have a quoted distortion level at 1 w, look for that on any other product spec sheet. The CS800s sounds really good even though I use low wattage in my LR. Also it is available at the store.
That sounds like a really great setup! Unfortunately, since this is actually at my office I need to keep everything in one cabinet. I'm already pushing it to my employees that I threw a piano next to my desk, I'd rather not put a rack of audio gear and speakers next to it too.

So, this is the block diagram for the Kawai CA98, which is the same internal motherboard as my NV10. The main difference to keep in mind is that my instrument does not have the KSTR-003 Transducers, and has a different speaker arrangement. So everything "inside" the block of the motherboard is correct, while there are some differences outside the "block." - for example, on my piano the "mix" output does not go into an EQ, but rather right into the L/R channel amp.

But based on this, it does appear that one of the outputs has a LPF on it, and the other one sends out a full-range signal?
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Last edited by computerpro3; 10th February 2019 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 10th February 2019, 08:47 PM   #12
computerpro3 is offline computerpro3  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2007
I am wondering if I am overthinking this.

Since the goal is to have the DSP/amp/speakers contained in the enclosure, and have the ability to use either Pianoteq via line-in from my computer OR the built-in Kawai sounds, and I am willing to cut/solder/fabricate, why not just do this:

Install a second line-in jack on the cabinet routed directly to a minidsp (dedicated for Pianoteq). Then, route Kawai's line out to a second input on the minidsp. Then I can replace the amps and speakers and have total control. Is minidsp capable of automatic source selection? Or is that something I would have to have some sort of control scheme to switch between?


Last edited by computerpro3; 10th February 2019 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 11th February 2019, 03:25 PM   #13
indianajo is offline indianajo  United States
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Location: Jeffersonville, Indiana USA
The electronics is the easy part.
Again, this thread PA speakers for home HiFi use
has some recommended "studio monitor" speakers which are designed to be listened to from two feet, between the pair. It won't be realistic on the zero octave, but what else is? You could put studio monitor speakers in the cabinet instead of the Kawai pair. If the kawai has high enough power to reproduce an ff hammer hit, then that may be all that is required. If not, then going off the usb output to a D/a board and your own 200w/ch amp may be required. Or on 80 db 1w 1m sensitivity monitors, even 400 w/ch. I'm all analog here on the hifi end of the room, so no knowledge of dsp etc. Don't know why you would want a digital processor, anyway. those are for frequency equalization curves & effects like reverb, flanger, etc. IMHO. The line out may be entirely adequate, but you may have to replace the line in from a microphone with a resistor to keep the internal processing from compensating for room effects.
It appears Kawai is using digital boards to make up for the inadequacies of their loudspeakers, with feedback from the inputs to cover up room effects like standing waves. I would ditch all that and buy decent speakers. But you have to treat the room to eliminate the standing waves, with soft furniture, drapes on walls, carpet, etc. Or go for the treatment in an actual studio,black sound absorbing foam on all the walls & ceiling.
Some extreme envy here. I'm not allowed to touch the Steinway grands around, they keep covers on them at the churches. I had access to a Baldwin 9' with a loose pin they were using as a plant stand, but the church gave it away. I don't have room here in my music room for a 9' grand , the 1940 Steinway 40 console will have to do. But the middle pedal is not like a grand, & I'm practicing Pictures @ an Exhibition.
Dynakit ST70, ST120, PAS2,Hammond H182(2 ea),H112,A100,10-82TC,Peavey CS800S,1.3K, SP2-XT's, T-300 HF Proj's, Steinway console, Herald RA88a mixer, Wurlitzer 4500, 4300

Last edited by indianajo; 11th February 2019 at 03:46 PM.
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