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#1309853 - 11/21/09 02:42 PM Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic
Alden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 211
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Shhhh, don't tell Yamaha! (actually its ok, I'm authorized for Yamaha service)

Obviously I did this as part of the article I'm writing for the next edition of PB, and its not like I haven't been inside plenty of instruments, but one detail in particular just blew me away and I had to share.

- unedited by the punctuation police whistle

One internal detail that I found fascinating was the construction of what is referred to as the shank stopper. The hammer heads do not actually strike anything. Instead, the hammer's upward travel is stopped when the hammer shank contacts the shank stopper at a point just below the hammer head. The first thing I noticed about it was that the width of cushioning material that the shank contacts is tapered from the bass to the treble; being roughly twice as wide at the bass end. The cushioning material is comprised of two layers of material with the top layer—the one actually struck by the shank—softer while the lower layer is more dense. The core of the shank stopper is wood but it is stiffened with metal side panels, then covered on top with heavier metal plates to add mass. Clearly this was not done in the interest of cost, but to maintain the proper feel of the action even though this piece has only the briefest influence on the hammers rebound feel. Resilience, stiffness, mass; I wonder how many variations were tried before arriving at this combination?

- end

And yes, there's a real grand action in there.



Back to work...
_________________________
Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |

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#1309888 - 11/21/09 04:04 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Alden]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Jes Alden, pull away the curtain and expose the wizard!
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1310008 - 11/21/09 07:47 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Marty Flinn]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9346
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Very interesting!

Thank you for posting this photo Alden!

It would be terrific to see a video of the action in motion...

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1310285 - 11/22/09 09:58 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Kawai James]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Because of your position, you
apparently can't own an acoustic
piano--like a person who works
for BMW couldn't pull up to
work every day in Porsche,
even if he likes them better
than BMW's. But do you actually like
acoustic pianos more than
digitals and wish you could
own a big grand?

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#1310338 - 11/22/09 11:26 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Gyro]
WeatherTheLizard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/04/09
Posts: 142
Loc: NY, US
I have nothing else to compare it too, but reminds me a lot of the inside of my CP70. Post more pics!
_________________________
Elizabeth
@->-->--

Kimball 4520, Yamaha CP70-B, Yamaha PSR-150

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#1310361 - 11/22/09 12:13 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Gyro]
Bart Kinlein Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 715
Loc: Maryland
I guess I'll get flamed for this, but nevertheless -

About a year ago I started piano lessons after a 55 year pause. Had a Steinway "M" in fair shape. It was located close to the bedroom. Since my wife is a late sleeper, and I usually start practicing around 5 or so, I needed a DP.

I purchased a Yamaha Clavinova. At first I was quite pleased with it. However, I always preferred the acoustic. As my playing skills improved, the DP became less satisfactory. But since I need the external silence of the DP with headphones, I continue to spend most of my practice time on the DP.

Where am I going with this? It seems that the AvantGrand would offer me the best of both worlds - a real acoustic feel combined with the silence of a DP.

I'm trying one out next week.

I did upgrade to a rebuilt "A".


Edited by Bart Kinlein (11/22/09 12:15 PM)
_________________________
Steinway 1905 model A, rebuild started 2008, completed 2012
Yahama CVP-401
Will somone get my wife off the Steinway so I can play it!

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#1310390 - 11/22/09 01:12 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Bart Kinlein]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3835
Loc: North Carolina
I don't see a photo. And I don't see a link.

Am I missing something?

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#1310446 - 11/22/09 02:25 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Gyro]
Alden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 211
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Hi Gyro,

Actually I've owned many acoustic pianos and there's nothing stopping me from owning one now. There are a lot of great things about DPs but probably my favorite aspect is the variety they provide. Between my DP and software pianos, I have several different top tier pianos--current and historical--at my disposal without coughing up in the neighborhood of $500,000 or more to do it for real.

Besides, I don't think Larry cares what I drive... grin
_________________________
Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |

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#1310551 - 11/22/09 06:14 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Alden]
ArtVision Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 15
Loc: Ireland
Hi Alden,

thanks for sharing with us the technical details on the AvantGrand N2, it gives an impressive view.
I am curious to read your future reviews of this new Hybrid piano, I might bite the bullet and buy it.
As for the sound of the N2, to your ear how does it compare with the Vienna Imperial: Bösendorfer Grand sound library? I know from your other posts you have been testing it recently (presumably with blue sky media desk 2.1).

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#1310573 - 11/22/09 06:52 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: ArtVision]
Alden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 211
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Aha, a stalker...

Hi ArtV,

Ok, I was afraid someone was going to ask me that one. Last things first; I'm currently listening to the MediaDesk 2.1s. They are not getting these things back...

To compare the N2 to VI I have to go to headphones (Sennheiser HD600s) to eliminate audio systems from the equation. This was a really tough one (I was telling Larry earlier today that doing two top-of-the-line products in one edition is really difficult, I may need counseling...). If somebody told me that either one of them would be my last piano I would be fine. They're really different beasts though. I can walk up to the N2, sit down and play and have it feel very natural and immediate--no adjustment necessary. Plus the fact that my wife (also a musician) doesn't mind that its in the living room.

The Vienna Imperial requires that I am in the studio with the Mac fired up and, between launching the program and loading a sample set, takes about a minute and a half to load. Not exactly spontaneous but it is so smooth. No discernible transitions.

I guess the bottom line is that like their host instruments, they're just different pianos. One sounds like a Yamaha, the other sounds like a Bosey. I'm looking forward to adding the Blüthner sample set.

Variety is the spice; collect them all!
_________________________
Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |

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#1311020 - 11/23/09 04:06 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Alden]
ArtVision Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 15
Loc: Ireland
Thanks a lot Alden,
your immediate answer is very much appreciated,
you must really have a hard time to compare these beasts,
I guess the N2 will appeal for pianists who do not want to mess with sound libraries.

In terms of servicing the mechanics of the N2 you have shown us on the photo,
do you think it will need frequent attention?

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#1311094 - 11/23/09 06:18 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: ArtVision]
Alden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 211
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
ArtV
I don't anticipate any service problems. The action will need to be regulated once in a great while, but one of the factors that effects regulation is reshaping the hemmers due to playing wear(changes the hammer line, strike distance, etc.) This won't be a factor; no felt.

Beside that, the thing's built like a tank.
_________________________
Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |

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#1311377 - 11/24/09 06:56 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Alden]
andrew f Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 120
Loc: Amsterdam
Hi there all. I've posted something similar in one of the other threads (forgive me), but what's it like living with this piano on a daily basis?
I'm considering getting the N3 to replace my Schimmel concert series silent upright. My downstairs neighbor complains so much that I end up using the acoustic capability hardly, if ever. And I'm not too fond of using headphones.
I tried the N2 for about ten minutes, and while the action felt great to me (better than the Schimmel upright) and the sound was fantastic at full blast, I found it a bit unsatisfying when I turned the sound down by about half, which I expect is something I would be doing a lot. Maybe the N3 wouldn't be as disappointing in this regard, but I haven't tried one yet.
The piano dealer says that it would be a huge step down replacing the Schimmel. He suggested I hook up some studio monitors to the midi module for lower decibel practice, rather than using headphones, as I do now.
So for now, it would be a trade-in plus a couple of thousand to get an N3 with its grand piano action, or an outlay of a couple of thousand to hook up decent quality monitors to my Schimmel.
Any and all observations would be appreciated. Thanks!

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#1311388 - 11/24/09 07:34 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: andrew f]
Bunneh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 399
Loc: Berlin
why are you not so fond of using headphones, by the way? If it's comfort, be sure you try a wide variety. If it's the sound coming from the cans instead of the instrument, you can try hooking up a headphone amp along with headphones as well as using the built-in sound.

That could give you satisfactory sound levels from a natural source without giving your neighbour fits! I did try something like this a while ago (subwoofer + headphones) and it really works (for me).
_________________________
aim for the moon - if you miss, at least you'll be among the stars.

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#1311392 - 11/24/09 07:46 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Bunneh]
andrew f Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 120
Loc: Amsterdam
It's not really that the headphones are uncomfortable. The source isn't natural - when you use the silent feature you hear a digital sample, not the actual piano you're sitting in front of.

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#1311472 - 11/24/09 11:27 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: andrew f]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Andrew f, those acoustic uprights
with a silent system simply
don't make sense, as I see it.
If you're using one, then noise
is a major concern, and you're
not going to be able to use
the acoustic piano. So you're
paying around $9000 for what
is essentially a digital piano.
(You can get perfectly good
digital pianos for less than
$1000.)

Now you're considering buying
something that also doesn't
make sense, in my view. This
Avant Grand is another device
that is essentially a digital
piano, and for the huge sum
of around $20,000. This just
boggles my mind for its
complete unreasonableness.

It is natural for a classically
trained musician to want the
"real thing" in a piano, but
this is ridiculous. We are
living in the Digital Piano
Era, and digital pianos
--regular ones, not these
chimera-like hybrids
of an acoustic and digital
piano--provide an acceptable
substitute for acoustic pianos.
I play a $600 Williams Overture
digital, and I find it okay
for playing anything, from
jazz and neo-classical improvisation,
to big-time classical works
like the Chopin op. 14 Concert
Rondo. And this is an economy
digital, one of the least expensive
ones around.

This idea of a silent
substitute for an acoustic
piano is not a new one. By
the late 19th century there
were silent keyboards available--
these are like a digital piano with
the power turned off. They
were invented so that concert
pianists could play anytime
and anywhere and not disturb
people, and they enabled
a player to save his ears and
nerves at the same time. They
used to be very popular with concert
pianists in the 1930's, and
Arrau used one all his life.

Silent keyboards and their
modern cousins, digital pianos
(regular ones, not acoustic/digital
hybrids), are the best thing
for developing technique,
because you can play anything
anytime and anywhere and get
in more quality practice time.
It has been pointed out on
this forum that top concert
pianists like Andre Watts
and Valentina Lisitsa use
regular digital pianos. So
there is no reason for any
pianist to shun regular digitals.

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#1311520 - 11/24/09 12:44 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Gyro]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3835
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Gyro
It has been pointed out on this forum that top concert pianists like Andre Watts and Valentina Lisitsa use regular digital pianos.
That may have been pointed out on this forum. But how do you know it's true? It's hard to imagine Valentina shunning her rebuilt Bosie for a digital!

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#1311681 - 11/24/09 05:54 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: MacMacMac]
Alden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 211
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
I can both validate and qualify the Andre Watts reference. Back in my dealer days I received a request to supply Mr. Watts hotel room with a DP for "warming up."
_________________________
Alden Skinner
DP Technical Advisor, PianoBuyer Magazine
| VSL Imperial | Pianoteq Pro | Logic Pro |

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#1311686 - 11/24/09 06:10 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Alden]
10fingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/14/09
Posts: 298
Loc: CA
Gyro, just because a famous pianist uses a DP, it doesn't follow that they like it, or even enjoy it: it could be just a necessity, given the circumstances. When I take my Ferrari in for a service (in my dreams) and they give me their loaner sub-compact, my driving said replacement doesn't mean that it can replace my Ferrari in any but the most utilitarian way. Add to this mundane analogy the fact that music involves creativity and sensitivity and aesthetics, and you see that the idea of a DP being able to replace the real piano is true in only a limited sense for most of us. In any case, this is a deeply personal issue, and I wouldn't care to quibble with anyone about their personal preferences.

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#1311930 - 11/25/09 02:18 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: 10fingers]
andrew f Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 120
Loc: Amsterdam
My dealer says he's sold four already - they get snapped up as soon as they hit the showroom. The buyers have not been professional pianists.
So, gentlemen and ladies, is there anybody here who has gone and bought one of these and lived with it for a while and who would care to share?

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#1311982 - 11/25/09 06:15 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Gyro]
athomik Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 299
Loc: England
Originally Posted By: Gyro

It is natural for a classically
trained musician to want the
"real thing" in a piano, but
this is ridiculous. We are
living in the Digital Piano
Era, and digital pianos
--regular ones, not these
chimera-like hybrids
of an acoustic and digital
piano--provide an acceptable
substitute for acoustic pianos.
I play a $600 Williams Overture
digital, and I find it okay
for playing anything, from
jazz and neo-classical improvisation,
to big-time classical works
like the Chopin op. 14 Concert
Rondo. And this is an economy
digital, one of the least expensive
ones around.


Tha Avant Grand is not designed to be an "accetable substitute" or to be "OK". It is intended as a viable and equal alternative to an acoustic piano. Instead of the choice of digital or acoustic, people looking for a piano can now choose between upright, grand or hybrid, with the usual digital offerings as a last resort if money or portability are the main considerations. Mind you, with regard to portability, there already are some major tour hire companies using the N3 to take on the road.


Edited by athomik (11/25/09 06:17 AM)
_________________________
Adrian Thomas
Service Engineer - Hybrid Pianos & Strings

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#1312350 - 11/25/09 06:01 PM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: athomik]
ArtVision Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 15
Loc: Ireland
The Avant Grand is intended for profession pianists, whatever reason they have to avoid real acoustic pianos,
the main functions are there: sound and touch. However not all of us on this forum are concert pianist with 8 hour per day piano practice, so when advance amateur pianists consider buying Avant Grand now for pleasure, such choice seems unnecessary for some people. As for virtuoso pianists, Horowitz played only on grands with very light action adjusted prior to his performances, while Richter played on grands with no special demand for particular touch. Personally I think if the sound and touch of Avant Grand makes you happy to play regularly and helps to advance in piano playing, the choice might be a better one than buying into good acoustic piano with all their limitations. The answer is not a clear cut, I think Alden has already alluded to the new category of pianos in his Piano buyer review book. We have more choice now!

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#1374369 - 02/15/10 03:47 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Kawai James]
yaccob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
Very interesting!

Thank you for posting this photo Alden!

It would be terrific to see a video of the action in motion...

Cheers,
James
x


Although not Avantgrand, perhaps still of any interest: I just uploaded a short video of the keyboard action of Yamaha GranTouch GT2, which is a predecessor of AvantGrand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsy5sz17PzU

Sorry about the bad video quality (video taken with iPhone). There seems to be a difference between the hammers of GranTouch and those of AvantGrand. Grantouch's hammerheads are made of hard plastic, and they are stopped by hitting a plastic 'sponge' material glued underneath a wooden board.
_________________________
Yamaha AvantGrand N3

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#1374375 - 02/15/10 04:19 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: yaccob]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Cool, thanks for sharing! Was it easy to open it up? Was there something wrong you needed to open up to fix, or was it just to take a peek. I've always wanted to see the inside of my N3 but don't have the foggiest idea of how hard or easy it'd be to open it up...

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#1374380 - 02/15/10 04:39 AM Re: Just took my AvantGrand N2 apart... added pic [Re: Volusiano]
yaccob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Cool, thanks for sharing! Was it easy to open it up? Was there something wrong you needed to open up to fix, or was it just to take a peek. I've always wanted to see the inside of my N3 but don't have the foggiest idea of how hard or easy it'd be to open it up...


Now, i am not sure if you are asking me or Alden smile GranTouch is relatively easy to take apart, you just need a screwdriver. I opened it up because i was curious about how the action works smile and of course, my GranTouch is no longer under warranty so by opening it i didnt really risk voiding anything. With your AvantGrand i'd be more careful simply because it is very likely still under warranty.

I am sure Alden will comment on how and why he opened his AvantGrand.
_________________________
Yamaha AvantGrand N3

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