What I'm essentially asking is to what extent can a digital piano, given reasonably affordable and excellent equipment, replace an acoustic piano. But that's a bit open-ended, and I'm really interested in knowing if there are any inherent limitations in sample-based VSTs in recreating the phenomenon of tone color.
My dream of a piano, as I'm sure many others share, would be to have a Steinway Model B grand piano. This is one step down from a Model D (which would never fit in my living room). But a Model B can cost upwards of $30,000 dollars used, so I'll have to save nearly a decade for that.
In the meantime, I'm looking for an excellent digital replacement for less than $5,000.
What I've looked into:
- Faithful piano action (e.g. see Roland's Ivory Feel-G keyboard with escapement)
- Ability to quickly repeat the same notes without fully releasing the key (as is possible in a grand piano)
- Supports a continuous sustain pedal, allowing full pedaling as done in acoustic pianos (e.g. see Yamaha's FC3 pedal)
- Fully weighted keys
- An amazing sample-based VST to go with this
- Imperfect Sample's Fabiozi samples 127 velocity layers
- Vienna Imperial samples 100 velocity layers (from multiple microphone perspectives)
I don't care for the built-in samples included in the piano, as I would connect this piano via MIDI to a VST that offers higher-quality samples (e.g. Ivory II Steinway D VST).
So with no equipment limitations (the continuous sustain allows realistic pedaling; fully weighted keys and faithful piano action allow realistic playing; assume an awesome VST), why wouldn't sample-based VSTs be able to produce lifelike intimate colorful playing?
In other words, am I overstepping the bounds of what digital pianos can offer me, if what I want is exactly the kind of playing you get from acoustic pianos?
A final way to put it, to be blunt, could Horowitz achieve his same magic using this setup?