Author Topic: Weird choice of voices / instruments in electronic pianos  (Read 359 times)

Offline BeginnerBob

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Weird choice of voices / instruments in electronic pianos
« on: May 27, 2019, 12:51:40 PM »
I have had a Yamaha P-45 for more than a year now, and it is a very nice instrument. I accept that is has only 10 included voices / instruments, but I think that Yamaha’s choice of 10 instruments is really weird. Some of the choices make sense, and I enjoy playing it with the “rhodes”-sound, the “dx-piano”-sound, the harpsichord, and the "string-ensemble"-sound works well when mixed with the others. I think it is a real pity that it doesn’t have more electric piano sounds though.

Why is there no Wurlitzer?
Why is there no Pianet?
Why is there no Clavinet etc.?

This is particularly strange when they have chosen to include two pipe organs (and no Hammond B3), two harpsichords (they are good, but one would be enough) and even a vibraphone with limited use. I know I can use more sounds through MIDI, but that's not the same.

I have noticed that other producers of electronic pianos are doing the exact same thing as Yamaha. What is the reason for this?
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 12:54:47 PM by BeginnerBob »

Offline sean

  • Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 806
    • View Profile
Re: Weird choice of voices / instruments in electronic pianos
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2019, 06:38:54 PM »


I know exactly what you mean.  I have an old Yamaha P-80 (that I still adore).  It has some great voices, and some real dogs.

I am most upset about the harpsichords and the pipe organs.

You sit in front of the instrument, and think wow, they really did a great job with the weighted-graded hammer-like action, and they really did a great job with the multi-sampled grand piano sound, and you can change the soundboard resonance, and it supports half-pedalling on the damper, and four different types of reverb, and all these great expensive features... and then what's with these unuseable voices?  The piano voice is awesome, but really who wants a dull lifeless harpsichord?  Or the merry-go-round calliope organ?  Wait that's supposed to be a pipe organ?

And to move up a model to get better voices is a big jump in price, and that model has a few new good voices - but it still has a bunch of crappy voices added in taking up space.  And then you notice that Yamaha sells crap-quality consumer keyboards with dozens of good voices and the whole General Midi soundset for a quarter of the price of the P45, but they pair the great voices with a toy keyboard action.  ARRRRRGH!!

I think the blame can be pinned on one man:  J.S. Bach.   

I think the harpsichord and the pipe organ appeal to the grandparents of present day musicians.
"Someday, you will be a great musician, like Bach, so your practice keyboard must have a harpsichord and a pipe organ with all the stops pulled out."

Having those two voices might make the instrument useful for a small church, I guess.  And there are probably university music programs all over Japan (and the rest of the world) that require the use of a harpsichord.


Sean


« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 06:41:34 PM by sean »

Offline BeginnerBob

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Weird choice of voices / instruments in electronic pianos
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 01:42:26 PM »
Yes, I agree completely, and the narrow selection of irrelevant instruments makes sense if the only purpose of the electronic piano was to teach kids Bach and other classical music. I think the harpsichord is great though, but one is enough, and two harpsichord-voices is one too many.

I have fortunately found a way around the limited selection of onboard instruments, and have my P-45 connected to an android tablet with Synthesia (with instruments like Hammond, synthbrass and saw lead!). There are also apps that can emulated classic electric pianos, but I have not found a great one yet.

The funny thing was that I actually considered a Casio electronic piano with hundreds of voices when I chose the Yamaha. My decision made sense back then, because the Yamaha felt and looked more like a high-quality instrument. Maybe I would have chosen differently today.

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3269
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Weird choice of voices / instruments in electronic pianos
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2019, 02:29:41 PM »
I have the P255 which has more sounds, but the Wurlitzer sample is HORRIBLE. I can't figure out why, I have a cheaper (and older) Yamaha keyboard that has a real decent Wurlitzer....
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...

Offline BeginnerBob

  • Pre-Piano
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Weird choice of voices / instruments in electronic pianos
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2019, 10:04:36 AM »
I have the P255 which has more sounds, but the Wurlitzer sample is HORRIBLE. I can't figure out why, I have a cheaper (and older) Yamaha keyboard that has a real decent Wurlitzer....
I think there could be a simple explanation for this. I guess most old keyboards have sounds that are based on mathematical formulas instead of sampling. Maybe that works better for the Wurlitzer-sound. If so, then Yamaha should take this into account and ditch the sampling for this particular instrument. Either way, Yamaha should certainly include Wurlitzer-voices in all of their electronic pianos.

Offline pianotuner steveo

  • MIDI Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 3269
  • A keyboard player in love with vintage guitars!!!
    • View Profile
Re: Weird choice of voices / instruments in electronic pianos
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2019, 07:15:28 AM »
No, the older keyboard is digital and is sampled. I don't remember the model number, but it has the same "brains" and LCD screen of the then several thousand dollar home Clavinova, but it is in a cheap, Casio like case with only 61 keys. (It does not run on batteries)  I midi it to better keyboards instead of using the toy like keyboard. I bought it almost at wholesale and it was still like $700. I will never part with this keyboard. It even has a Hohner ep, and has great orchestral instruments, synths, it is way more powerful than it should be for the price. I think retail was only $1,200 at the time. I will have to look at the model number and give an update.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 200A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2000 Yamaha acoustic piano
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
....and a few guitars...