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#1593476 - 01/08/11 06:04 PM Yamaha AvantGrand N3
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
So I finally got around to playing it. Dave, I was NOT impressed. The action that's supposedly the EXACT same as the concert grand, was much stiffer. It was placed right next to a concert grand, so I could play and compare. The sound is what you can expect of a digital piano. I don't understand why anybody would pay $15K for that thing. I didn't have fun playing it at all. Now don't tell me that somebody who lives in an apartment and wants to practice silently would buy this. I would rather buy myself a clavinova for $2500 if I needed something like that. I owned one for 5 years and the experience I got from the N3 today wasn't all that different from what I got from the Clavinova. Whatever the real action in the N3 does for the experience, was not noticeable. Maybe I was inadequate for the task but if someone who's played for 17 years is not upto the task of perceiving the difference, then I guess the N3 caters to a very small section of the market: the pro pianists who need to practice silently.

I played grands that were less than 6' and they all outperformed the N3 as far as I am concerned. I prefer my 1988 P22 over the N3. I'm a Yamaha guy but I think the N3 is a mistake. Something's not right about it, I don't know what. However, I understand that all of this is just personal preference. Everything that I say here about this piano pertains to my taste and preferences. Please go play it before you decide if you want to buy it if you're considering one. I'm a purist in that sense, so my review needn't be an accurate one.

Those wondering why I'm posting this stuff, I've always had debates with Dave Horne about the N3 here but I had never actually tested it in person. Today was my first trial. So I had to report it here. Now I know I was right all along in saying that I wouldn't enjoy such a piano.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593493 - 01/08/11 06:26 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5283
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
liszt85,

The action that's supposedly the EXACT same as the concert grand, was much stiffer. It was placed right next to a concert grand, so I could play and compare.

It's not supposedly a grand piano action, it is, for all practical purposes, a grand piano action. Had you removed the fallboard and the cloth covering you would have seen the same action from a C3. The fact that it was stiffer would be a plus for me. It's quite possible the other piano on the floor was more broken in.

The sound is what you can expect of a digital piano.

Well, the sound of mine sounds like a grand piano if that's what you meant ... ? I've made recordings of my N3.

Whatever the real action in the N3 does for the experience, was not noticeable.

Well, that's a pretty important statement. If I played a Clavinova and had the same keyboard feel that I have from the N3 I would have bought a Clavinova and saved myself some money.

Those wondering why I'm posting this stuff, I've always had debates with Dave Horne about the N3 here but I had never actually tested it in person. Today was my first trial. So I had to report it here. Now I know I was right all along in saying that I wouldn't enjoy such a piano.

As I have stated several times, the action of a piano for me comes first with the sound a very close second. I prefer to play on a real grand piano action. I'm sure I would have also been happy with the N1 which would seem to be an extremely basic version if the N3.

Real grand pianos are loud, too loud. I've always had to quiet done the acoustic pianos I've owned.

I clicked on your profile to get an idea of the level of your playing to put all of this in perspective, but sadly could not go any further, musically speaking.





_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1593501 - 01/08/11 06:36 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
http://www.box.net/shared/srbz0hgbl9
Recorded using just laptop mics, played on a Clavinova. This was 4-5 years ago.

http://www.box.net/shared/9plyjphc7a
Recorded on the newly acquired, but old, P22. Needs to be tuned (which I don't mind at all). I just had a humidifier installed (which I don't mind at all), so it needs to settle down a bit before I can tune it. The clicking hammer noises have been fixed now (again, I don't mind fixing this stuff).

http://www.box.net/shared/zgmpyn7874 Same as above. Recorded this as soon as I'd finished working on the piece (learning the notes). I play it better now.

http://www.box.net/shared/0cnba6er65 Recent recording, on the P22 as well. I haven't mastered the art of recording yet, so excuse the recording quality in all of the above recordings. I know, you can plug in a cable to the N3 and record directly. How cool is that, right? :P

You think I can discern the difference between an N3 and a clavinova if there was a huge difference?
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593516 - 01/08/11 07:04 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
AlphaTerminus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 549
Loc: Iowa, USA
The N3 is a good digital piano. However, for the price they are charging they should have put larger speakers and subwoofers in it, and had upgradeable software pianos available. The price is WAY too high for what's offered.

I really wanted to like it as it would have saved me money... but I'd rather play my digital hooked up to nice 8 inch monitors with a TruePianos or Ivory as the sound. I disagree about the N3 action... it's one of the things I liked about it.
_________________________
Lessons since September 2009
Yamaha C6

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#1593657 - 01/08/11 11:31 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: Dave Horne]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
It's quite possible the other piano on the floor was more broken in.


That might be true. The concert grand has been there for quite some time. The N3 just arrived. It wasn't there 2 weeks ago. So you're right. That could be it.

Originally Posted By: Dave Horne

The sound is what you can expect of a digital piano.

Well, the sound of mine sounds like a grand piano if that's what you meant ... ? I've made recordings of my N3.


Well, the recordings of my Clavinova are very good, considering that I used crappy laptop mics. A recording made directly from a digital piano is going to be comparable to (or very likely much better than) amateur recordings made by people like me from an acoustic piano. The sound I'm talking about is real time sound, sound as pressure waves that come though the air medium between the strings (or the speakers in the case of the digital piano) and my ears when I play the piano. There is a huge difference in the sound of the grand piano and the N3! Since you say that sound is only secondary to you and since you have problems hearing higher frequencies, we should probably not argue about this. I think I possibly have a more sensitive ear in this regard wink.


Originally Posted By: Dave Horne

Whatever the real action in the N3 does for the experience, was not noticeable.

Well, that's a pretty important statement. If I played a Clavinova and had the same keyboard feel that I have from the N3 I would have bought a Clavinova and saved myself some money.


I think I ought to have played a Clavinova today before I did the N3. I played the N3 after having played the concert grand and its been ages since I played a Clavinova. So I must grant you this, that the action is probably a legitimate advantage that the N3 possesses. However, the fact remains that I wasn't blown away by it and I wouldn't dream of paying $15K to buy it even if I had the cash. I would rather put that money into a grand piano. I loved the under 6' Yamaha grands that I played today in comparison to the N3. The sound and the action, both hold equal spots (at the top) in my list of priorities. I would still get the Clavinova if I wanted to practice silently because I cannot imagine doing all my practice for the rest of my life on a digital piano, even the N3 (in part due to its very apparent inferior sound quality). So I'd use the Clavinova for late night practice and would probably buy a decent grand piano for day time practice.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593664 - 01/08/11 11:42 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: AlphaTerminus]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Actually, the N3 on sale is not that bad in terms of price. What's really over-priced is the N2, which I've not seen any less than $9K. I think the N2 should be more like $7K.

I think the OP had unrealistic expectations when he tried the N3. Compared to even my GC1M, I could say, the GC1M sounds real and the N3 does not sound real but has a nicer tone and much bigger bass but missing the sonic richness from sympathetic vibrating string interplay of a real acoustic like my GC1M. If you are comparing it to a C6, there is no contest. The N3 is a nice little piano with a huge sound. It's perfect for a department store, a restaurant, hotel lobby, apartments, whatever, but it is not the CFIIIS except in the minds of Yamaha's digital piano marketing department. I think you only should buy the N3 if you like a very well maintained acoustic piano but know that you could never maintain it for whatever reasons.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1593675 - 01/08/11 11:56 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: Dave Horne]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Quote:
The action that's supposedly the EXACT same as the concert grand, was much stiffer. It was placed right next to a concert grand, so I could play and compare.

It's not supposedly a grand piano action, it is, for all practical purposes, a grand piano action. Had you removed the fallboard and the cloth covering you would have seen the same action from a C3.


I am surprised you both do no discern between an acoustic concert grand action and an action like in a C3.

To my knowledge a Yamaha C3 is not a concert grand and does not share the same action with the Yamaha concert. I never played side by side a Yamaha concert to a c3 but I did from other brands, e.g. a Blüthner 6 next to a Blüthner concert or a Bösendorfer concert next to a Bösendorfer 170 and the concert grand action always felt noticably different. It is not necessarily so that the concert action feels lighter but more responsive which is a different matter all together.

Quote:
...then I guess the N3 caters to a very small section of the market: the pro pianists who need to practice silently.


Those pro pianists then also still have the alternative (if they decide they want to own both an acoustic grand and another instrument for silent practicing) to purchase straight away e.g. a 7'+ Yamaha silent grand: lower investment in total and saves space as they will only need one instrument. Should they not like to listen in silent mode through the head phones they can still branch the silent acoustic grand to a good amplifier and listen trhough a decent pair of louspeakers.
Only drawback here is that they will have limited choice: knowing the best silent systems being made are those by Yamaha and Kawai (for the time being) they will have to like the Yamaha or Kawai acoustics.

If what lizst85 says is true then the market for the N3 wil be very limited. I really would like to see reliable world wide sale figures about the Yamaha N3 sales one year after it's launch. I was once quoted local (Belgium) sales figures for it some 8 months after the launch and that was not impressive at all.

schwammerl.

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#1593678 - 01/09/11 12:04 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: schwammerl]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
The C3 and C5 shares the same action, which is not a concert grand action. I think the C6/C7 have the same action. Only the concert grand has the concert grand action. I don't think the N3 has a key length as long as the concert grand, maybe it's as long as the C6. In any case, the N3 has a modified grand piano action. The important keyword is modified (Yamaha's own description). There are no dampers. That means when you step on the sustain pedal, there is no decrease in tension/weight of the keys. That in itself is the biggest complaint from an otherwise very happy N3 owner.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1593701 - 01/09/11 01:12 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
I played the 9 foot CFIII (man, that piano is fabulous, it sings!). So I think I'm talking about the concert grand and not the C3 (I overlooked that when responding to Dave's post). I thought Dave mentioned elsewhere that the N3 had the action of a Yamaha "concert grand" but I might be mistaken.

I also mentioned having played grands less than 6' before I played the N3 today. All of them beat the N3 in terms of responsiveness and sound (no surprises here).

Schwammerl, I'd be interested in seeing some figures too. I would also like to see how many experienced pianists (say > 10 years of playing experience) actually buy that piano.

@4evr88: Yea, I did have unrealistic expectations, after all the hype people created around it on this very forum. Your post is spot on, except for the price bit. How much does an N3 on sale sell for? I can get a new U1 for $8-9K, right? I'm guessing, I don't know the actual prices. I played a U1 today. I would choose the U1 over the N3 any day but some of you may find that unreasonable. The sound is just too important for me. So what makes Yamaha think that a C3 action costs $12K (the sound is not too different from their other higher end digital pianos and I'm subtracting the cost of one of those to exclude the cost of the sound)? Does a "modified" C3 action really cost $12K?
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593725 - 01/09/11 02:08 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: liszt85

@4evr88: Yea, I did have unrealistic expectations, after all the hype people created around it on this very forum. Your post is spot on, except for the price bit. How much does an N3 on sale sell for? I can get a new U1 for $8-9K, right? I'm guessing, I don't know the actual prices. I played a U1 today. I would choose the U1 over the N3 any day but some of you may find that unreasonable. The sound is just too important for me. So what makes Yamaha think that a C3 action costs $12K (the sound is not too different from their other higher end digital pianos and I'm subtracting the cost of one of those to exclude the cost of the sound)? Does a "modified" C3 action really cost $12K?


I would say the N3 at $12 to 13K is not unreasonable. That puts it at twice the price of the CLP-380. Now before you say that's a huge difference, realize that it's quite common for the high end in most things to cost twice as much as the mid range stuff. In pianos you pay a large premium for the top end like everything in the luxury segment.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1593730 - 01/09/11 02:17 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
I played an N3, too! Finally. I found it quite nice. The speakers aren't bad and I liked how they put some pointing at the floor, too. The touch was very familiar (being a real C3 action and all) and nothing like the GH3 on digitals. It was a bit stiff, too, though. Kinda expensive... but so is the entire model list wink

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#1593742 - 01/09/11 03:05 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: gnuboi]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
.
_________________________
http://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

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#1593765 - 01/09/11 06:13 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5283
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I thought Dave mentioned elsewhere that the N3 had the action of a Yamaha "concert grand" but I might be mistaken.

I never stated that. I always state that the action of the N3 comes from the C3. I've been told that from a Yamaha tech. Of course the action is very slightly modified in that there are neoprene hammers; the rest of the action looks exactly the same as a 'real' action.
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1593800 - 01/09/11 09:08 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
andrew f Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 120
Loc: Amsterdam
I had very high high hopes for the N2 and N3 myself, but finally decided against them. I just didn't feel inspired enough as compared to my Schimmel upright. I could see the avant grands being a fine practice tool for a pro like Dave who's already an accomplished pianist, but I really need the whole resonating box to keep me interested in putting in the hours of practice I need at this point.

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#1593813 - 01/09/11 09:34 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: andrew f]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19836
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: andrew f
I had very high high hopes for the N2 and N3 myself, but finally decided against them. I just didn't feel inspired enough as compared to my Schimmel upright. I could see the avant grands being a fine practice tool for a pro like Dave who's already an accomplished pianist, but I really need the whole resonating box to keep me interested in putting in the hours of practice I need at this point.
I would think that the more advanced one is the more important/desirable it is to have a good acoustic unless other considerations(cost, need to keep the neighbors happy) weigh too heavily against one. Professional pianists would normally put in more hours of practice than amateurs and want to enjoy it as much as possible also.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/09/11 09:59 AM)

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#1593818 - 01/09/11 09:48 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: pianoloverus]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: andrew f
I had very high high hopes for the N2 and N3 myself, but finally decided against them. I just didn't feel inspired enough as compared to my Schimmel upright. I could see the avant grands being a fine practice tool for a pro like Dave who's already an accomplished pianist, but I really need the whole resonating box to keep me interested in putting in the hours of practice I need at this point.
I would think that the more advanced one is the more important/desirable it is to have an acoustic unless other considerations(cost, need to keep the neighbors happy) weigh too heavily against one. Professional pianists would normally put in more hours of practice than amateurs and want to enjoy it as much as possible also.


+1

I played for about 4-5 hours yesterday and that was possible only because this is the beginning of the quarter. Grad coursework piles up on you as the quarter progresses. So I would appreciate playing on an acoustic, even my out of tune P22, rather than something like the N3, to extract the most enjoyment from these precious hours. I found that the N3 couldn't give me the sound required for some accented patterns that I had to play when I tried playing that first movement of the sonata that I shared here earlier. The N3 might have the action of a C3, but it definitely doesn't respond like the C3. You have a certain expectation of a piano when you execute a certain physical motion on it. If the piano doesn't respond with the sound (and articulation) you expect, then practice becomes ineffective because a lot of piano practice is dedicated to learning associations between physical motion and sound patterns. I had to practice on a Clavinova for 5 years only because I stayed in a dorm. Now that I have my own apartment, I would never go back to a digital unless my neighbors complain. The way I deal with my neighbors is, I've given them my phone number. They can call me any time they want me to stop. In general the rule they set for me is no playing after 10pm and before 8am. I'm fine with that! It can get real loud in here and I am fortunate to have very tolerant neighbors. If a day comes when that changes, I will sell it and get a Clavinova, or probably will not get anything at all. I'll go to the University practice rooms to practice.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593820 - 01/09/11 09:51 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: Dave Ferris]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
Excellent playing Liszt85.

My experiences playing the N3 have been hot and cold---probably depending on my mood that particular day. smile

I almost pulled the trigger on one last year with a trade for my older Yamaha GT-2 "Gran Touch" digital but because of gigs slowing down and the basic reality of--"I wonder how much use I'll really get out of this"--I passed.

I believe they are great for some people, others, not so much. I think the N3 records great. Dave's mp3s sound very realistic. I actually like the recorded sound better then my supposedly newer and more advanced "SCM technology" on my CP5.

The last time I played the AG N3, probably at least 3 months ago now, I remember quickly going over to one the Yamaha verticals (don't know the model # ) and thinking, " give me an Acoustic any day over this electronic thing ".

But I know there have been other occasions where I thought for practice, the N3 would be fine---for certain things. Not sure I could play Classical music on it. Especially the way you were getting around on that older Clavinova on the Chopin--man you can play. Jeez, I've been playing that Chopin op 25 #2 for what seems like forever and I'm not at that tempo and you're on an upright. cry

Yeah you need a good B or C7 for the way you play.


Thanks Dave. Hope to make enough money to buy a grand, some day.. its a day that's far off because I'm still a struggling grad student. No regrets though, I love what I'm doing and the pace at which I'm doing it. wink
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593821 - 01/09/11 09:51 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: pianoloverus]
andrew f Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 120
Loc: Amsterdam
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: andrew f
I had very high high hopes for the N2 and N3 myself, but finally decided against them. I just didn't feel inspired enough as compared to my Schimmel upright. I could see the avant grands being a fine practice tool for a pro like Dave who's already an accomplished pianist, but I really need the whole resonating box to keep me interested in putting in the hours of practice I need at this point.
I would think that the more advanced one is the more important/desirable it is to have an acoustic unless other considerations(cost, need to keep the neighbors happy) weigh too heavily against one. Professional pianists would normally put in more hours of practice than amateurs and want to enjoy it as much as possible also.


I tend to agree, but...

My piano teacher is this blockbuster ex-Soviet vituoso. Same teacher as Ashkenazy and Lazar Berman. She's living in a kind of independent living facility, and can only manage this clavinova from before the flood in her place space-wise. Sometimes I think I'm nuts for wanting to stay with an acoustic, but she is quite happy with her digital piano, and she manages to coax a super-human array of tone colors from the damn thing.

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#1593838 - 01/09/11 10:20 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: andrew f]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: andrew f

My piano teacher is this blockbuster ex-Soviet vituoso. Same teacher as Ashkenazy and Lazar Berman. She's living in a kind of independent living facility, and can only manage this clavinova from before the flood in her place space-wise. Sometimes I think I'm nuts for wanting to stay with an acoustic, but she is quite happy with her digital piano, and she manages to coax a super-human array of tone colors from the damn thing.


Tone colors from a Clavinova? Probably an illusion (psychological) wink because a virtuoso pianist playing a toy keyboard will sound good, not because of the instrument though and it can give you the illusion of tone colors just because we didn't hear such sounds when we played it ourselves. So yes, a virtuoso pianist can get the maximum out of a clavinova but is it enough? Think about it. The keys hit sensors, and a sound is produced whose volume is controlled by the velocity with which the key hits the sensor (or some such process, again I haven't read about what's going on inside a digital keyboard exactly but this is my guess, Dave Horne can probably tell us more). Is velocity the only factor that goes into production of tone colors?
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593840 - 01/09/11 10:23 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
andrew f Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 120
Loc: Amsterdam
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Originally Posted By: andrew f

My piano teacher is this blockbuster ex-Soviet vituoso. Same teacher as Ashkenazy and Lazar Berman. She's living in a kind of independent living facility, and can only manage this clavinova from before the flood in her place space-wise. Sometimes I think I'm nuts for wanting to stay with an acoustic, but she is quite happy with her digital piano, and she manages to coax a super-human array of tone colors from the damn thing.


Tone colors from a Clavinova? Probably an illusion (psychological) wink because a virtuoso pianist playing a toy keyboard will sound good, not because of the instrument though and it can give you the illusion of tone colors just because we didn't hear such sounds when we played it ourselves. So yes, a virtuoso pianist can get the maximum out of a clavinova but is it enough? Think about it. The keys hit sensors, and a sound is produced whose volume is controlled by the velocity with which the key hits the sensor (or some such process, again I haven't read about what's going on inside a digital keyboard exactly but this is my guess, Dave Horne can probably tell us more). Is velocity the only factor that goes into production of tone colors?


I'm a pro musician myself, just not a pianist. In any case, she fools me!

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#1593852 - 01/09/11 10:45 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
Dave Horne Offline
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The keys hit sensors, and a sound is produced whose volume is controlled by the velocity with which the key hits the sensor (or some such process, again I haven't read about what's going on inside a digital keyboard exactly but this is my guess, Dave Horne can probably tell us more). Is velocity the only factor that goes into production of tone colors?

I'm no expert but I can pass on what little I know. The sensors in digital pianos don't measure pressure per se but velocity. If you play harder the hammer travels faster, if you play softer, the hammer travels slower - it's velocity ... and in the AvantGrand (and the GranTouch) the sensors are strategically placed where they can measure the velocity without interfering in any way with the action. (The same may be true for all digital keyboards for all I know.)

In most digital pianos there are snapshots of sound for each note or having one note's snapshot representing a few (two, three or four) surrounding notes. There will be several snapshots of sound (three or four) taken at various velocities. You press a key down, the velocity gets measured and a chip or chips (or some guy named Fred) determines what snapshot gets used and how loud to make it .... or something like that. smile
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#1593856 - 01/09/11 10:52 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: Dave Horne]
liszt85 Offline
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Alright, so my guess wasn't far off. We have sensors that measure velocity and that translates to sound being produced at some volume that's decided in a deterministic way, based on the velocity measured.

Tone color: On a real piano, when playing Chopin, I've been instructed to play with the fleshy part of my fingers to get a more legato sound out of the piano. In that recording (Op 25, No. 2), I play with pointed tips and the sound is indeed a little harsh. I've tried playing with the fleshy part and it does sound different. I'm still working on it, maybe I'll post a recording when I've learned to play the whole piece that way. In any case, a digital piano (the N3 here), couldn't possibly simulate that?

If that's true, that's exactly why a serious pianist (especially one who's working on developing technique) wouldn't want to practice on an N3 making it their primary practice instrument. If practical issues like neighbors are your only consideration, maybe the Clavinova is good enough as I don't know how much an N3 with its real C3 action offers without the action being tied to the sound produced because all of piano playing has to do with making that association.
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Next in line:
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Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593858 - 01/09/11 11:01 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
bennevis Online   content
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I don't want to thread on anybody's toes, but have you tried the Roland V-Piano? It uses a completely different technology to produce the sound, which is entirely seamless (no stepping or looping), unlike sampled sounds from all other digitals. The way it responds to your touch is quite uncanny, in my opinion, giving the very real illusion of playing a mechanical instrument. If you get the chance to try it with the 4-speaker connection, and maybe tweak the sound to increase the sustain and resonances (see my thread on the digital forum for suggestions), you may well change your mind about what the future of digital pianos hold and what they (it) can already achieve.

By the way, I'm a serious amateur classical pianist.
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#1593859 - 01/09/11 11:02 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
Dave Horne Offline
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Tone color: On a real piano, when playing Chopin, I've been instructed to play with the fleshy part of my fingers to get a more legato sound out of the piano.

In a real piano or a digital, the hammers will only see velocity. It doesn't matter to the hammer if you use the fleshy part of your fingers or the fleshy part of your nose, the hammers and the resulting sound are determined by velocity. Now perhaps you have more control over the velocity by certain ways of playing, but the hammers really don't care, if you know what I mean.
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#1593867 - 01/09/11 11:12 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
Dave Horne Offline
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... one more thing, some classical types like to think they can control the sound of the piano even after the hammer has left its resting position. All kinds of hand gyrations or body movements will change nothing once the hammer has left its resting position.

I remember reading a rather lengthy article about this a very long time ago.
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#1593871 - 01/09/11 11:15 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
liszt85 Offline
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Somehow that doesn't sound accurate to me. The hammer might not care, but the strings might?

Your playing on different parts of the key, with the same velocity, is going to produce a different sound because of subtle differences in how the hammer might travel or the subtle motions a hammer might make on its way to the strings. The hammer's motion is not a strictly constrained one in a plane that's perpendicular to its motion. So how you strike the hammer can make a difference in the sound because of where and how it might strike the strings. The hammer doesn't care if you play it with your nose, of course, but the strings do. In a real piano, what the strings see is not just the velocity of a hammer. That's the simplify things too much. When various moving parts work together to go strike three strings that are tuned in unison, you cannot simply say that playing a key with your nose will have the same effect as playing it with your finger tips. I wish I could explain this more scientifically and this is where I hope a piano technician can help us out. Tell us how a real action acting on REAL strings work and that will tell us why playing with the finger tips vs the fleshy part of the fingers might make a difference, not just in control, but also directly on the sound produced.

Dave, if you're really saying that ALL the piano sees is the velocity of the hammers, then you are mocking people like Sandor who've written books that begin with "musical meaning is tied to physicality of the pianist and various different sounds are produced by various types of physical motion".
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593873 - 01/09/11 11:17 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: Dave Horne]
liszt85 Offline
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Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
... one more thing, some classical types like to think they can control the sound of the piano even after the hammer has left its resting position. All kinds of hand gyrations or body movements will change nothing once the hammer has left its resting position.

I remember reading a rather lengthy article about this a very long time ago.


I tend to agree with that part of your thinking.

Tell me this, do you think you can produce a vibrato from a piano?
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1593876 - 01/09/11 11:19 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
bennevis Online   content
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I agree - I remember watching a master class where the Master (who shall remain nameless) told the student to perform a vibrato-like movement (akin to those that string players make) on the key after striking it to get the best cantabile tone for the nocturne he was playing. I wondered whether he thought the Steinway D was a clavichord.....
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#1593883 - 01/09/11 11:24 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
Dave Horne Offline
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Registered: 07/07/04
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Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Tell me this, do you think you can produce a vibrato from a piano?

The gym I go to has power plates. You place the piano on one of those power plates, set it to 50 cycles and its highest power setting, and I bet the piano will produce a vibrato. smile
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#1593887 - 01/09/11 11:29 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3 [Re: liszt85]
Steve Jackson Offline
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Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 672
Loc: Toronto

The reason why, with the technology used, the N3 cannot reproduce a piano, is it's limited ability to alter the character of the playing. Here at my shop, the same piano played by different pianists, exhibit different characteristics.

Many years ago I was working on this problem, and my conclusion then was a major large database and decision tables were required, so that the decision can be made:

When a piano is played like this (ie: maybe sostenuto, or half pedaling, some notes held down while sounds decaying, and a stacatto played) a real piano will respond like this. Or, if the same scenario occurs, but no stacatto, the piano will play like that. Any system using MIDI and samples are way unprepared to even think about doing this, thus, at this time, even a low-end used upright will be more 'real' then the N3.

The N3 does have its uses, but replacing an acoustic piano for advanced users who can accomodate a real piano is not one of them.

Steve
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