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#1986165 - 11/13/12 12:57 PM My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600)
Taylorius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 44
Hi

Well, today I went into Central London and tried to compare all the high-ish end (£2000 - £5600) digital pianos I could find.

My first stop was Chappel's, who sell Yamaha pianos (digital and acoustic).

NU1 - I was very impressed with the keys, which felt highly authentic. Not surprising, given the mechanism is lifted from an acoustic upright. I found the sound somewhat lacking in bass though. The salesman, who had also been involved with the development of the NU1, informed me that the samples were from a 6.5 foot grand, as opposed to the 9 foot grand sampled in the N1 - hence the "brighter" sound. I liked the NU1's feel a lot, but the lack of bass was a problem for me.

N1 - Lovely. I couldn't really fault it. The keys are apparently a bit heavier than the NU1, though I didn't really notice the difference. The sound was great, warm and deep bass, bright midrange and top. It's bulky, and by some margin the most expensive piano I tried - but still, wonderful.

CLP-470 I briefly tried it, but wasn't that impressed tbh. Possibly I had been "spoilt" by playing the N1 / NU1 immediately before, but the 470's keyboard seemed light, and artificial.

Next, I went to Rose Morris, vendors of Roland and Kawai.

CA95 / CA65 - I had tried this piano a few days before, and had loved the sound, but found the keyboard rather slow to rebound from a press. I tried it again, as well as the CA65 and both actions seemed identically slow to rebound. The CA95's sound was very nice, which I suppose is due to the soundboard, as the CA65 seemed to lack a little in the bass.

CS6 - I tried this mainly to compare Kawai's previous rm3 action with their new "Grand Feel" action. I found the keys rebounded noticeably more quickly, and the action was slightly heavier. The pivot point has been moved towards the back end of the key on the new action, and this change in leverage could, I feel, explain the lighter touch, and comparatively slower rebounding of the CA95/65.

LX-15. I had a go with the top open, but it was still extremely muffled. To the extent that it seemed as if I was listening to it from the next room. I can't believe this is as it should be, but there you are. The keyboard was ok, but didn't actually feel that real to me, being rather light.

My top 3:

N1 is brilliant, and would be my choice without question, if budget and spec. allow. If I had to criticise it (and the NU1), it would be of the fairly crap set of "other sounds", which sounded as if they came from a synth from the late 90s. For a pure piano experience though, it can't be touched.

NU1 I loved it, it's size is more standard, and the keys feel great. Sound is a bit tinny (or bright) for my liking, but that may well be a matter of taste.

CA95 - really good sound, but I think they've taken a misstep with the keyboard compared to their previous rm3 action - it just feels really sluggish to me. On the plus side it has great extra sounds (including a John Lord-a-like blues organ, which had me trying to remember "child in time". :-) And of course is significantly cheaper than the Yamahas.

So there you have it. I am off to try to convince myself and my family we can afford (and have room for) an N1. Good luck with that, Matt - as they say...

Hope this is useful, or at least prompts some discussion

Matt



Edited by Taylorius (11/13/12 01:15 PM)

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#1986181 - 11/13/12 01:30 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5280
Originally Posted By: Taylorius
Hi



NU1 - I was very impressed with the keys, which felt highly authentic. Not surprising, given the mechanism is lifted from an acoustic upright. I found the sound somewhat lacking in bass though. The salesman, who had also been involved with the development of the NU1, informed me that the samples were from a 6.5 foot grand, as opposed to the 9 foot grand sampled in the N1 - hence the "brighter" sound. I liked the NU1's feel a lot, but the lack of bass was a problem for me.



I must point out a correction - that salesman is wrong. The NU1 samples are from Yamaha's latest concert grand, the (almost) 9-foot CFX, which replaces the CF-IIIS from which the older AGs are sampled. The CFX has a generally brighter and more colourful sound than the CF-IIIS. The lack of bass might be due to the speakers - listening through my headphones, they sounded fine.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#1986182 - 11/13/12 01:36 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: bennevis]
Taylorius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 44
Hi bennevis

I thought that at the time you know - I was sure I'd read it was a CFX. I did mention this to him, but he was adamant. I agree with you that it may well be the speakers, rather than the samples - but the majority of the time, I will be playing it aloud, so it does matter to me. It's a lovely instrument though.

Cheers

Matt

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#1986188 - 11/13/12 01:45 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3836
Loc: North Carolina
Well, here's what Yamaha's web page says about the NU1:
The NU1 features sound carefully sampled from one of the finest instruments that Yamaha has ever made—the CFX full concert grand piano.

And this salesman claims to have been "involved with the development of the NU1"?
It seems he's really involved in handing you a load.

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#1986190 - 11/13/12 01:46 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5280
Did you go upstairs at Chappell's and have a look at the acoustic Yamahas? There's a CFX and CF-IIIS side by side in the small auditorium at the far end of the hall where lunchtime concerts are held on Thursdays. If you ask nicely, they might let you try them out for a direct comparison, so you can compare their sound (and a lot else) with the DPs downstairs.

P.S. don't tell them I told you this grin.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#1986197 - 11/13/12 01:56 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
Taylorius Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 44
I *think* he said that a CF4 was used in the samples. I couldn't swear to it though. Anyway, it was supposedly a 6 footer.

bennevis: I didn't go upstairs, though I wish I had now. I'd be super nervous playing a CFX, though it would be awesome to feel and hear it in action. The only downside would be that all my subsequent piano tests would just be *SOB*, it's not a CFX. laugh

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#1986207 - 11/13/12 02:26 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5280
Originally Posted By: Taylorius
I *think* he said that a CF4 was used in the samples. I couldn't swear to it though. Anyway, it was supposedly a 6 footer.

bennevis: I didn't go upstairs, though I wish I had now. I'd be super nervous playing a CFX, though it would be awesome to feel and hear it in action. The only downside would be that all my subsequent piano tests would just be *SOB*, it's not a CFX. laugh



Yes, the real CFX will sound (and feel) like a Lamborghini Diablo (or whatever their latest supercar version is now - I'm a bit behind the times....) next to the Fiats downstairs grin.

I've played all their latest acoustic CX series based on the CFX, and wasn't that impressed with the smallest ones (C1X and C2X). The C3X is a big jump forward in sound (especially in the bass) but it's the C7X that really hits the jackpot in terms of real punch.

The CF4 however is an older model in their Premium series - there's no reason why they should sample from it when there's the concert grand CF-IIIS in the same range (now replaced of course by the CFX).
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#1986225 - 11/13/12 03:28 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2386
Loc: UK
Thanks for the reviews. Interesting. I also liked the N1 and NU1 keys, although they are not to the taste of everyone of this forum (noisy, clacky). I tried the N1 and NU1 with headphones in a store and thought they were both great, especially access to tonal dynamics.

So if you don't get the N1, what will you get?


Edited by spanishbuddha (11/13/12 03:29 PM)

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#1986234 - 11/13/12 03:43 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yeah, for whatever reason digital piano manufacturers behave as if obtaining samples is a very costly and difficult endeavor (I'm not saying it isn't...I just don't know that it is). I believe Kawai and Yamaha have both used the same original sample set for several generations of pianos (some samples are more compressed and have different numbers of layers in different DP's, of course, but they come from the same recording session). The change to CFX from the samples they used before is the first in quite a while for Yamaha as far as I know. For this reason it is highly improbable that they also did a session with a smaller acoustic and made it the main voice in a high-ish end instrument like the NU1.

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#1986942 - 11/15/12 02:48 AM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Interesting reviews. I'd love to hear how your personal opinion of all these compare with a Roland V-piano's touch and sound if you had/have tried one.

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#1987335 - 11/16/12 05:30 AM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: bennevis]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3707
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Taylorius
I *think* he said that a CF4 was used in the samples. I couldn't swear to it though. Anyway, it was supposedly a 6 footer.

bennevis: I didn't go upstairs, though I wish I had now. I'd be super nervous playing a CFX, though it would be awesome to feel and hear it in action. The only downside would be that all my subsequent piano tests would just be *SOB*, it's not a CFX. laugh



Yes, the real CFX will sound (and feel) like a Lamborghini Diablo (or whatever their latest supercar version is now - I'm a bit behind the times....) next to the Fiats downstairs grin.

I've played all their latest acoustic CX series based on the CFX, and wasn't that impressed with the smallest ones (C1X and C2X). The C3X is a big jump forward in sound (especially in the bass) but it's the C7X that really hits the jackpot in terms of real punch.

The CF4 however is an older model in their Premium series - there's no reason why they should sample from it when there's the concert grand CF-IIIS in the same range (now replaced of course by the CFX).


You guys are in a different league to me. I reckon just about any acoustic piano is the equivalent of the Fiat Doblo . .. drive one and see what I mean! Can`t stand the bloody things . . .that`s why I`m here and not there!
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#1987347 - 11/16/12 06:39 AM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: Taylorius]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2221
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Fiat Doblo!! LOL!!! smile (there's also the Dacia Sandero .... )

Greg.

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#1987485 - 11/16/12 01:53 PM Re: My comparison of digital pianos (£2000 - £5600) [Re: sullivang]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3707
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By: sullivang
Fiat Doblo!! LOL!!! smile (there's also the Dacia Sandero .... )

Greg.


How about . . . . this!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw73igqYh3w
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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