QUOTE(Stephen.Betts @ Feb 17 2010, 02:55 PM)
I recently started a one year lease on a brand new Yamaha P116-SG silent piano. I have to admit to being disappointed with the instrument - not appreciating the difference between a slightly worn in show room model and a brand new one. I am basically stuck with it until December, when I have the option to purchase. I would value your opinions on what might be a better option for me.
My main dislike is the "stiff" keyboard - I find it makes it very difficult to play piano, let alone pianissimo, compared to some older instruments I play on occassionally. I am only grade 4 at the moment, so you could argue that I could learn on any 'old banger' of an instrument, however for me the quality is important and I can hear the difference between instruments easily and really feel that I am in more control when playing older, softer touch instruments which enable me to play more expressively.
My research has also suggested that a stiff mechanism for a beginner may actually be a good thing! - developing strength of fingers and meaning you are never phased by different pianos, as they are generally of a softer touch and not vice-versa!
In addition, as I live in an apartment, the silent functionality is important to me (I use it about 40% in silent mode)
I see my options as:
1. Do nothing, buy the instrument in December and accept that the stiff mechanism will soften with age
2. Get advice of technician on possibly having it re-regulated (would have to buy it to do that) and been told anecdotally that this may not be very succesful in a new piano
3. Return and get a new U-series silent instead
4. Return and get a second hand U-series instead (and probably have to retrofit silent functionality).
5. Get something totally different!
Budget - could go up to £7/8k (hence new silent U-series) but would prefer to spend less to keep the other half happy! Has to be upright for space reasons.
Any opinions/advice greatly received.
I have an 11 year old U1 with silent system factory fitted. And I agree the keyboard is much stiffer than most pianos I play but also very crisp (which I love) so when I play on very worn pianos it causes me havoc!
If you get a new U1, you may end up with the same issue you currently have as I understand new pianos take a while to settle in and your action may be stiffer than a worn one. I really wouldn't have a silent system retro fitted, unless someone has had this done and can approve of it. As I understand there are 2 options, the Gabor which is £800 ish but is not optical and makes the key action even stiffer, or the piano disc system, which is optical but around £1800!!! On my silent U1, when in silent mode the action is slightly lighter as the metal bar which stops the hammer striking means they have less distance to travel. I thought I was imagining this at first.
I bought my 2nd hand U1 for the same price as a non silent system, so in effect you get it for free, but then you have to risk the electronic parts possibly breaking down. I also contacted a Yamaha engineer before the MK plant closed down and he gave me an idea on spare parts for the silent CPU to replace, £200 being the most expensive part. Mind you I had a 1 year guarantee on the silent bit and 5 years on the piano.
One thing I would say on a second hand U1, is that if you use the silent mode loads, the sampling has come on leaps and bounds since mine, so a newer or brand new U1 will have a much better silent sound, plus you will be able to record through a digital output whereas I cannot on mine.
I love my U1 and am really pleased (EDIT When it is in tune). I spent £3500 on mine and it is 11 years old so for your budget you could probably get one a few years old. The more I play lots of different pianos in various music shops, the more it confirms that I love the sound of the U1 (albeit very bright which some hate). I really don't like the sound of the B series. The difference between a 10 year old U1 and a 20 year old is very noticeable aswell, the build quality is so much better.
One word of warning and please don't let me put you off. I have a big problem with mine staying in tune. It is being investigated by the dealer and others. I have a replacement piano arriving any day, which has been sourced by them. It may be the piano, but it may be the environment. Mine is a Japanese import. So you might be better off getting one made for the UK market. In all the music shops I have been in so far I have not played a U1 that feels the same and sounds the same, they are all so different!
If you need any more advice please PM me.