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#1762292 - 09/30/11 12:07 PM Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops)
Karnevil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Hi!

I have a couple of questions regarding the Yamaha Avantgrand N1, and it would be great if you could help me out. smile

I’m a music teacher and play/practice the piano almost daily. Right now I’m using a Yamaha CP300 digital stage piano at home, and I’m finding it limiting. I can’t use a real acoustic because of my appartment isn’t sound proof enough.

I can only afford the Avantgrand N1 right now, but I would like to know if it compares favourably to N2/N3 playing wise. (Have no means of playing one before buying, although I’ve tried an N3.) If anyone here have had experiences with several Avantgrand models, including the N1, I’m very interested in your opinions.

I’m mainly wondering about the two omissions in the N1 feature wise. 1: Lack of ivorite keytops, is the plastic material on N1 satisfactory for demanding classical playing? 2: Lack of TRS (tactile response system), is this a big deal? I tried a N3, and the TRS did not feel entirely natural to me, but I didn’t test it for very long. Will the speakers create enough of a vibrating string sensation by themselves in the N1?

There very little info and user experiences on the net about the N1, so I would be very grateful for any critial advice you can give me. Thanks! smile


Edited by Karnevil (10/02/11 10:46 AM)
Edit Reason: ivory = ivorite

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#1762339 - 09/30/11 01:06 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3672
Loc: North Carolina
As for the plastic keys ... You're already familiar with plastic KEY TOPS, both on your CP300 and on nearly any acoustic you've played (real ivory is rare, right?). So I presume you're asking about the difference between PLASTIC KEYS and WOOD KEYS? I think the only way to know if there's a difference is to try both an N1 and an N2/N3. (I don't think wood is important, but that's just me. In the end, only YOUR own opinion matters, right?)

As for the tactile response system ... When I bought a Clavinova, I was surprised at the lack of key vibration/feel. I still had my upright at the time and I played both units. The difference is startling.

But I quickly became accustomed to the non-TRS feel, and don't suffer for it. I surely wouldn't spend much more money to gain the TRS. But, once again ... only YOUR opinion matters.

As for "will the speakers create enough vibrating string sensation by themselves in the N1?" ... I haven't tried an N1 but it's easy to conclude that the keys won't pick up any significant vibration from the speakers. There's just not much coupling of energy between speakers and keys.

Summary:
1. The only way to judge pianos is by trying it them yourself.
2. If you can "only" afford an N1, then perhaps the choice is moot ... get the N1. It may be a compromise for the no-wood and no-TRS, but you're still getting a unit that's head's above other digital pianos.

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#1762367 - 09/30/11 01:54 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Mac3 answered the question about the keytops and even though I haven't played the N1 (or N2) the action is the same, although as you noted, the N1 does not have the TRS.

I do most of my practicing using headphones and by default Yamaha turns off the TRS when using headphones (though it can be turned back on). I don't miss the TRS and while it's a nice touch, so to speak, it should not be a deal clincher.

I wouldn't count on the internal speakers of the N1 transferring any kind of tactile response. If money were an issue (it wasn't when I bought my N3 but it is now), I would buy the N1. Yamaha was smart in introducing the N3, the most expensive model first, followed by the N2 and then the N1. All things considered, the N1 is the best buy. I could have almost bought two N1's for what I paid for the N3.

Buy the N1, but as always, be sure to play one before you make the final decision. Don't forget to bring along quality headphones as well.
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#1762439 - 09/30/11 04:08 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
MzrtFan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 86
Loc: United States
I recently compared the N1 and N2 (for almost 2h on 2 different occasions). My conclusions after the 2nd visit were:

If I had $7,000 (that's the price I was given at the 2nd store!) and did not have to sell my acoustic to buy an AvantGrand, I would have bought the N1.

If I had been offered a good trade-in value for my piano, I would have bought the N2.

The N1 is very close to the N2 as far as the keytops go. I noticed a slight difference (fingers slide more easily on the ivory feel keys). But I don't think the N1 impaired my playing in any way, it was just something I noticed and probably would have gotten used to it.

However, the TRS did make it a lot more realistic and that's why I say I would have chosen the N2 if I had to sell my piano in order to buy an AG. I don't have any access at all to another acoustic piano in order to satisfy any occasional "cravings" for a real piano experience.

About the N1 speakers, if you have the volume high enough you can actually fell some vibrations - but not like the TRS though.

I felt the N1 provides a very satisfying experience though, even without the TRS.

Good luck!

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#1762446 - 09/30/11 04:20 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Dave Horne]
Karnevil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Thanks for the replies! I obviously ment "Ivorite", (i.e. fake Ivory, vs. the cheaper plastic material on the N1 keys), I'm not exactly a newbie... Both N1 and N2/N3 obviously has wooden keys, the only difference is the key top material.

I do notice that vibration from the speakers affect the keys on the CP300, and I was hoping that since the N1 is built much more massive with long wooden keys that the effect would be more pronounced..

Thanks Mozart fan for your answer!


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#1762569 - 09/30/11 08:58 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
kippesc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 396
Loc: United States
If you again get access to an N2 or N3, but not an N1, try different TRS settings (off, min, default (middle), max -- I think) and decide the TRS issue for yourself. For me, it's not a big deal to have it off, which is the default setting when you use headphones.
_________________________
Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX

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#1762710 - 10/01/11 06:06 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
EssBrace Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2331
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
I like the TRS. On the N3 the TRS also extends to the pedals and I find it a very real sensation personally - bearing in mind the N3 was brought into my house the very same day a real Yamaha grand was taken out the comparison was certainly meaningful to me.

Everyone keeps mentioning the TRS but don't forget the N3 also has the soundboard resonator. In my opinion this is something that makes some of the behaviour of the N3 uncannily right - if you pound the piano the resonator just keeps swelling the sound. To illustrate this, you can sit down at the piano and play a chord with the greatest strength you can, ie, max out the piano's velocity (you obviously need to bang pretty hard to do this!). If you do this several times in a row the volume and timbre of the piano changes, just as it would on a real grand, the resonator doing "more" each time thereby simulating the behaviour of a real soundboard - the sound just swells and becomes absolutely towering.

I think the AG range is very well conceived in terms of the features/benefits of the three products - each has a unique position within the hierarchy with a well-judged price/feature identity. I think the N1 had to happen - the range would be incomplete without it. It is not too far away price-wise from the top-line offerings from Yamaha and the other maufacturers but offers the unique (to Yamaha) real grand action, which is the main "prize" and makes it the perfect practicing tool. One thing that strikes me is that I've never seen any AG owner that wants to get rid of it or is not very impressed and happy with their piano.

Cheers,

Steve
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#1763083 - 10/01/11 09:36 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
I own an N3 so I can't comment on the Ivorite vs Plastic Resin question. On the TRS question, I use headphones for practice a lot, and in this mode, the TRS is automatically off. You can turn TRS on in headphone mode, but you'll hear the soft vibrating sound they use to induce the vibration on the keys. So it wouldn't be completely silent via headphones if you turn TRS on. Because I want complete silence, I forgo the TRS mode in headphone practice. But while I don't miss it during headphones mode, when I play in the normal play mode, I can tell that it's on, but it feels natural enough that it doesn't throw me off or anything. I can switch back and forth easily with or without TRS with no problem. The point I'm trying to say is that while TRS is nice, it's not going to make a significant enough difference that will be a make or break decision on your purchase of the AG.

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#1763109 - 10/01/11 10:44 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
Kuanpiano Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2055
Loc: Canada
I've tried the Avantgrands, and for my purposes, the N1 is best. If you want the best of the best, go for an N3 which is probably superior to any baby grand or small grand piano, but with an N1, it's still in the same price range as an acoustic upright but is by far the better choice IMO.

I wasn't a big fan of the N2 in comparison, the difference between that and the N1 wasn't huge and it was several thousand dollars more. I only noticed the TRS when I turned the volume off too...
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Working on:
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Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 118
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto no.3

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#1763114 - 10/01/11 10:59 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Kuanpiano]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1598
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I'm certainly leaning towards the N1. The speakers on the N2 do seem better, though. That, more than the keytops and the TRS, seems to be what significantly separates the two models.
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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1763269 - 10/02/11 09:09 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: ClsscLib]
Karnevil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Thanks for some very interesting comments! I really appreciate the feedback. I agree that an N3 would be the ultimate choice, but at 2.5x the price of an N1 it's just far outside my budget..

I think I understand as far as the keytops. If I glide my fingers across the keys on my CP300 (Yamaha digital stage piano) it doesn't feel as frictionless as the material used on real (quality) acoustic pianos, but it doesn't really hamper my playing in any way.
From what I can deduce so far the TRS is a nice feature, but doesn't represent a big difference in playing comfort/experience when using headphones, which I'll do more than 90% of the time.

I'm going to talk with the local piano store next week, and see what kind of price I can get for an N1. Wow, I'm excited.. smile

I would still love to hear more user experiences with the N1 vs. N2/N3, if there's more AvantGrand users on this board. Thanks again! smile

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#1763380 - 10/02/11 01:19 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4401
I haven't yet played the N1, but I didn't find the TRS on the N3 at all convincing (with headphones especially, it felt distinctly odd), and as you don't either, I wouldn't use that as a criteria for whether you buy the N1. Far more important is the sound from the speakers, which from the N3 is very impressive, and obviously cannot be matched by the N1. That's of no concern of course if you're going to be using headphones. I definitely don't think you should turn down the volume control while using the speakers to avoid annoying neighbors - you'll end up messing up your fine control of tone and dynamics.

As for keytop material, let's just say that of the (new) concert grands I've played on recently, only the Fazioli F278 had a distinctly non-plastic feel. Steinway D, C.Bechstein, Blüthner, Shigeru Kawai....all felt like plastic. But none the worse for it.

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#1765179 - 10/05/11 01:11 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
Karnevil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Thanks for all the comments and info about the AvantGrands. I was back at the local piano store today and tested the N3, and compared with various Yamaha acoustic grands.
This was my findings:
Ivorite vs acryllic resin: I tested two acoustic grands from Yamaha (a cheap and expensive model with each of the keytop materials). The ivorite definately feels more "luxurious", and has a slighty "worn" and nuanced texture, whereas the acryllic resin material just feels like plain smooth plastic. This time I tested the N3 with TRS on various degrees and completely off, and at the middle setting it definately added to the playing experience - it felt quite "right" even with headphones. Still, the key action still felt great without TRS.
In other words, if I had the money I would get a N3 in a heart beat, but I think I will be quite satisfied with the N1, even though the playing experience isn't quite as "luxurious" as the N3/N2.



Edited by Karnevil (01/14/12 10:58 AM)

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#1765227 - 10/05/11 02:08 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
EssBrace Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2331
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Karnevil
However, it felt like the key return on the AvantGrand is slightly slower than on Yamahas acoustic grands. The hammer doesn't hit anything on the AvantGrand, whereas on an acoustic grand the hammer hits strings. The AvantGrand action did feel a bit heavy, I wonder if it had to do with a very slighty slower key return. Kinda the same feeling I had using my (now sold) Kawai MP9500. It's a very small difference, but still..


It may just have been that the acoustics had more played-in actions. My AG is only now starting to loosen up just a tad - feels nicer now than when new - there was a very slight feeling of excessive inertia when it was brand new.
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Yamaha CP1

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#1765254 - 10/05/11 03:03 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
kippesc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 396
Loc: United States
I've owned a few Yamahas, and the bushings sometimes need to be played in or even "eased" before the action starts to feel fast and light (less friction). I'm still waiting for that to happen on my Avant. But I think it will eventually.
_________________________
Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX

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#1765268 - 10/05/11 03:41 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: kippesc]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: kippesc
I've owned a few Yamahas, and the bushings sometimes need to be played in or even "eased" before the action starts to feel fast and light (less friction). I'm still waiting for that to happen on my Avant. But I think it will eventually.


But even before it's worn in, the Avant returns and is ready to play more quickly than a standard DP action, right? I ask because I notice you have both.

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#1765291 - 10/05/11 04:26 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: gvfarns]
kippesc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 396
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Originally Posted By: kippesc
I've owned a few Yamahas, and the bushings sometimes need to be played in or even "eased" before the action starts to feel fast and light (less friction). I'm still waiting for that to happen on my Avant. But I think it will eventually.


But even before it's worn in, the Avant returns and is ready to play more quickly than a standard DP action, right? I ask because I notice you have both.


No. If you want fast, the Roland PHA III is fast, smooth, balanced and light. The Yamaha is a very good action, however. It has the heaviest touch of the three pianos I have. I've been getting ready the past few weeks for a performance of the third movement of the Mozart Sonata in C K330, and I've been switching among all three pianos, but I'm getting my confidence up on the Yamaha, because I feel like it will help me deal with a heavier action at the performance venue.
_________________________
Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX

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#1765295 - 10/05/11 04:37 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
My N3 came fresh right out of the box, I watched it being opened.

It was playable from the start and I for one prefer a brand new action though didn't notice any particular stiffness or anything that needed to be played in.

If I were a millionaire I'd buy a new piano every few years just to have a brand new action, tightness and all.


.... very slight feeling of excessive inertia when it was brand new. I have no idea what that means but it does sound impressive. smile
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#1765303 - 10/05/11 04:44 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: kippesc]
Kona_V-Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 272
Originally Posted By: kippesc
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Originally Posted By: kippesc
I've owned a few Yamahas, and the bushings sometimes need to be played in or even "eased" before the action starts to feel fast and light (less friction). I'm still waiting for that to happen on my Avant. But I think it will eventually.


But even before it's worn in, the Avant returns and is ready to play more quickly than a standard DP action, right? I ask because I notice you have both.


No. If you want fast, the Roland PHA III is fast, smooth, balanced and light. The Yamaha is a very good action, however. It has the heaviest touch of the three pianos I have. I've been getting ready the past few weeks for a performance of the third movement of the Mozart Sonata in C K330, and I've been switching among all three pianos, but I'm getting my confidence up on the Yamaha, because I feel like it will help me deal with a heavier action at the performance venue.

I have to concur, the Roland PHA III in my V-Piano is the fastest graded hammer action I've ever played on. Especially compared to my Yamaha CLP990 with the natural wooden keyboard which does have hammers hitting a contact for that same grand piano feeling.
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Roland V-Piano, Yamaha CLP990, Yamaha S90

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#1765308 - 10/05/11 04:59 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
I'm a little confused. Can we qualify "fast" a little better?

The Yamaha has a real grand action with double escapement. Doesn't that make it better than any digital, at least for repetition speed?

I had heard that Roland is lighter (haven't played one in a coon's age), which would mean you could physically play fast without fatigue, but in what other way is it fast?

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#1765325 - 10/05/11 05:19 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: gvfarns]
Karnevil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
Don't get me wrong, I much prefer a more heavy action on a digital (more resistance) than a lighter one. I personally think Rolands action is too light, and the RD700fx (whatever the newest model is called..) has a rather shallow action (not a good thing in my mind). Sometimes you'll play a concert on a piano with a heavy action, so I'd rather not practice on a very light/easy action.

I'm gonna go for the N1, I don't think there is a better keyboard action on a digital piano out there right now. I was just wondering why Yamaha didn't have the hammers in AvantGrand hitting a string-like surface, to get the exact key return of an acoustic, but maybe I'm just overanalysing.. At any rate the N3 is one heck of an instrument. Wish I could afford it.., but I'll settle for the N1. smile

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#1765332 - 10/05/11 05:33 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I was just wondering why Yamaha didn't have the hammers in AvantGrand hitting a string-like surface, to get the exact key return of an acoustic, but maybe I'm just overanalysing.

The GranTouch, the predecessor of the AvantGrand, did just that ... and I assumed the AvantGrand did the same until I saw photos of the action. The GranTouch had slightly modified hammers. The hammer heads were made of neoprene and struck a neoprene type material. Had I not seen the action of the AvantGrand, I never would have known anything was different between the two series.
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#1765440 - 10/05/11 09:15 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: gvfarns]
kippesc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 396
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
I'm a little confused. Can we qualify "fast" a little better?

The Yamaha has a real grand action with double escapement. Doesn't that make it better than any digital, at least for repetition speed?

I had heard that Roland is lighter (haven't played one in a coon's age), which would mean you could physically play fast without fatigue, but in what other way is it fast?


Passage work -- e.g., Chopin Op 25 No 2 -- easier (faster and cleaner and less fatigue) than most acoustic grands. Repeated notes -- e.g., Rhapsody in Blue repeated note section -- easier (faster and cleaner) than most acoustic grands. Ornaments (trills and turns) -- easier (faster and cleaner) than most acoustic grands. I just confirmed this against my Steinway B. To be clear, I'm not saying one action is superior to another. I'm simply saying that the PHA III is fast and light, and I find the key dip to be quite deep, not shallow. I'll try to measure it when I get a chance.



Edited by kippesc (10/05/11 09:17 PM)
_________________________
Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX

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#1765495 - 10/05/11 10:20 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: kippesc]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Kippesc, how does the AvantGrand compare with your Steinway, in terms of the feel of the action?

Sorry if it's tiresome to explain too much, but I'm not in a good place to be able to try out an AvantGrand so I'm real curious about how good (or not) it really is action-wise. I've always wished digital actions were more perfectly like acoustic actions and the AvantGrand seems like the perfect solution.


Edited by gvfarns (10/05/11 10:20 PM)

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#1765506 - 10/05/11 10:43 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: kippesc]
Kona_V-Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 272
Originally Posted By: kippesc
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
I'm a little confused. Can we qualify "fast" a little better?

The Yamaha has a real grand action with double escapement. Doesn't that make it better than any digital, at least for repetition speed?

I had heard that Roland is lighter (haven't played one in a coon's age), which would mean you could physically play fast without fatigue, but in what other way is it fast?


Passage work -- e.g., Chopin Op 25 No 2 -- easier (faster and cleaner and less fatigue) than most acoustic grands. Repeated notes -- e.g., Rhapsody in Blue repeated note section -- easier (faster and cleaner) than most acoustic grands. Ornaments (trills and turns) -- easier (faster and cleaner) than most acoustic grands. I just confirmed this against my Steinway B. To be clear, I'm not saying one action is superior to another. I'm simply saying that the PHA III is fast and light, and I find the key dip to be quite deep, not shallow. I'll try to measure it when I get a chance.



I can 100% agree with this as I move from real grands back to my Yamaha and then the V-piano's PHA III. There are certain songs that I can play faster and more accurately on the PHA III than on the heavier piano's. Not saying one is better than the other either, however if I had to pick one action to play for a couple hours a day, I'd choose the PHA III. Don't get me wrong, I love to play real grands and I love my CLP990 to death, however when you play for hours, your fingers will thank you for using the lighter keyboard every-time. And on top of that, as kippesc also mentioned, fast passages sound cleaner and is noticeably easier to play when compared to a heavier keyboard. If you want to get a workout when playing and want a more accurate concert grand feel, then go Yamaha. If you want in my opinion a better practice piano, then choose the PHA III action.
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Roland V-Piano, Yamaha CLP990, Yamaha S90

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#1765519 - 10/05/11 11:03 PM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: gvfarns]
kippesc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 396
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Kippesc, how does the AvantGrand compare with your Steinway, in terms of the feel of the action?

Sorry if it's tiresome to explain too much, but I'm not in a good place to be able to try out an AvantGrand so I'm real curious about how good (or not) it really is action-wise. I've always wished digital actions were more perfectly like acoustic actions and the AvantGrand seems like the perfect solution.


Shortly after I bought my Steinway, I had a very good technician (an RPT who I believe has given RPT qualifying examinations to other techs on action issues) regulate it. She took the action with her to her shop for several weeks and removed a lot of the friction that was in action where many of the bushings were too tight. I was surprised that this was necessary, but it was quite clear that action parts were not moving freely. My Steinway now is accordingly very fast and responsive, though definitely not perfect.

My Yamaha N2 has not had all this work done to it. It's nevertheless fine. It's not as quick and responsive and light as the Steinway or the Roland, but it's like a good new piano. I'm confident it'll "play in," and I kind of need a heavier action, because from time to time, I have to play on pianos that are not well regulated or that otherwise have a heavy touch.

Here's the primary reason why I think the Avant will play in and lighten over time: Back when the Avants came out, Keyboard magazine did several videos featuring the Avant side-by-side with a well-used C7 in an LA recording studio. The links to these videos are somewhere on this forum in one of the earlier discussions of the AvantGrand. At one point in these videos, one of the professional (pop/jazz) pianists compares the touch of the Avant to the C7, and states that the C7 is much more played in and easier to play. He clearly seems to prefer the C7 action, but from my perspective, that's no matter, because the Avant is brand new. (The C7 may have better action geometry, however, being a larger grand.)

Another reason I think the Avant will play in is that I once owned a new U5, and the bushings on that new piano were tight enough that keys would stick in humid conditions. I had to have the bushings under the key "eased" on that piano. I was told at the time that this is common on Yamahas, and the solution is simple and covered under their warranty.

Your statement "perfectly like acoustic actions" is interesting. Acoustic actions, are of course, very complicated mechanical devices, and they are generally made of wood. These things are rarely perfect, so an action perfectly like an acoustic action would be, in all likelihood, imperfect. (I'm not trying to be pedantic. I really am trying to make a point here.) My Steinway, for example, presently needs to be regulated (the let off seems off on a few keys; one damper wire is hitting a tri-chord), and it could also benefit from a Stanwood action person smoothing out the touch weight in a few places (touchweight between two adjacent keys seems uneven). New York Steinways are notorious for their uneven touch when new (or, at least they used to be), and it seems to take a lot of time and money to get them into tip top condition.

The Roland action, by contrast, is smooth, stable, consistent. I would recommend you watch the following video at 4:47.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w_cUQOV-xM&noredirect=1

This video is the first time I've heard someone who seems to know what they are talking about point out that plastic and metal configured in a way to simulate (while not replicating) an acoustic grand action can be very very good. It truly would require thousands of dollars of Stanwood action regulation to regulate my Steinway to the level of consistency in the Roland. And, frankly, I don't see the point in doing it. Because a pianist ultimately is at the mercy of the piano he finds himself playing, he can't expect a perfect touch in an acoustic because a perfect acoustic action is a very rare and possibly fleeting thing.

Finally, I should note that neither the Roland nor the Yamaha are as responsive and substantial-feeling and satisfying to play as the Steinway. But that's an obvious point. I nevertheless enjoy playing the Roland and Yamaha and spend MOST of my practice time on them so as not to drive my wife crazy playing the same repertoire over and over and over again.


Edited by kippesc (10/05/11 11:11 PM)
Edit Reason: Corrected the youtube link
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#1765636 - 10/06/11 04:43 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: kippesc]
Dave Horne Offline
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Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
The links to these videos are somewhere on this forum in one of the earlier discussions of the AvantGrand. At one point in these videos, one of the professional (pop/jazz) pianists compares the touch of the Avant to the C7, and states that the C7 is much more played in and easier to play. He clearly seems to prefer the C7 action, but from my perspective, that's no matter, because the Avant is brand new. (The C7 may have better action geometry, however, being a larger grand.)

I watched those videos several times. It was a totally bullsh*t comparison. The C7 in question was in studio use for decades and was more than broken in, it was probably in need of a complete overhaul.

Those videos were made by Keyboard Magazine and I thought they were less than objective. It came across as a partnership between Yamaha and Keyboard, that's unacceptable. While I've used Yamaha products for decades there should always be an adversarial relationship between a so-called journalist and the company being interviewed.
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#1765656 - 10/06/11 05:57 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
bennevis Online   content
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Registered: 10/14/10
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Coincidentally, I visited the Yamaha/Bösendorfer showroom yesterday (had a few hours to kill before the evening concert I was going to attend) and compared the N3 with a top-end CLP, as well as with brand-new Yamaha ('Premium' range) and Bösendorfer grands. The N3, which I played first, immediately felt rather heavy and it took me a few minutes to adjust. The sound was nice through its speakers, but when I put the (Yamaha) headphones on...oh dear, it sounded really artificial, with very poor sustain and decay. The CLP was a lot lighter but didn't feel at all like an acoustic (with no escapement feel either), and its sound via headphones was similar to the N3.

Then I went upstairs to the real pianos and the dealer invited me to try their Bösendorfer 170 and 190 (just arrived from Vienna), which immediately felt rather lighter and more easily controllable than the N3. On to the Yamaha hand-made Premium range, of which I tried the S4 and S6 before going on to the concert grand CF-IIIS. The S4 and S6 were brand new; the CF-IIIS had been used regularly for concerts, but they were all lighter than the N3, and about the same as the two Bösies.

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#1765660 - 10/06/11 06:31 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: bennevis]
Dave Horne Offline
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Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
bennevis, my experience with the N3 speaker system and headphones was exactly the opposite. To me through headphones it sounds great, better than through the speakers ... and to me it sounds natural through headphones. For the N3 to sound decent through the speaker system the level has to be set to approximate that of a real grand piano. If the level is set too soft there's a noticeable lack of bass response.

The sustain can be easily adjusted via the control panel. The setting goes from 0 (off) to 20 with 5 being the default setting. I typically set it to 15 or so since the default setting is a tad too dry for my tastes.
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#1765765 - 10/06/11 11:03 AM Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N1 vs N2/N3 (TRS and keytops) [Re: Karnevil]
HwyStar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/11
Posts: 319
Bennevis and Dave: I plan on taking one of my sub woofers and connecting it to the N1, N2, and N3 this weekend (at the store) to see if rounding out the bottom end helps those pianos sound a little bit richer. My thought; as you know Dave, was to give the pianos a bass boast; like a loudness control on receivers, so that the pianos sound good at a lower volumes. I will post my results on Sunday.

Don't forget that the AG's can be regulated if need be by a qualified tech. If its to stiff then have them soften it up!


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