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#2003634 - 12/23/12 07:28 PM Extensive testing of Avantgrands
Acca Offline
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Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 67
I just had the opportunity to test the Yamaha Avantgrand pianos for the very first time (had to fly out of my country to do it...) I was able to test extensively for more than an hour, and I thought I would share the experience for those who are interested in the Avantgrands.

The generous Yamaha dealer was happy to accommodate me comparing the N1, N2, N3 and a complement of their new grand pianos: GB1, C1X, C2X, C3X, C5X, C7X. I did not play the grands as much, mostly because I was wary of subjecting the other shoppers to my playing, and also because I was not meant to be considering them for purchase... (one of the greatest things about digitals for a not-confident player is the headphone feature!!)

Here are my impressions:

General Avantgrand:
1) The keyboard touch is surprisingly heavy. Now I know that volume response makes a big difference in the perception of heaviness (getting a louder sound from a lighter touch), but I actually got that impression even before turning it on. In my opinion it is heavier than the Kawai GrandFeel keyboard, and far heavier than the real grands I tried there.

2) It certainly FEELS like a grand piano action, down to the little "notch" at the bottom 1/4 of the key travel, and the slight lightness you get once the hammer is lifted off the jack.

3) You cannot play "off the jack". In a real grand, you can depress the key down to where the notch starts, and if you press the key to the bottom from there, the hammer will hit the string, albeit at a lighter-than-ordinary force proportional to your movement (not as much mechanical leverage). However on the Avantgrand, it acts just like a lot of other DPs (like the Kawai CA series). Unlike in a real grand, the notch is independent of the sensor which determines when the key has been "released". In fact, the release is surprisingly high up, about 1/3 of the way down from the top. So actually, pianissimo trills with small finger movements are not as easy as on a grand. (In a real grand you can repeat a note just by lifting the key 1/4 of an inch, not so with the AG)

4) Sound (on headphones) is not great but I already knew that from what others have said. I was using good quality in-ear headphones. I normally play using the Vintage D VST, and this was definitely a far cry from that. It was not as sensitive to independent finger voicing. Admittedly, there are probably adjustments in the settings I could have done, but I forgot to read the manual before going to the dealer. (And the salespeople didn't know anything about these pianos, probably because they don't sell too many)

5) It's probably just my unfamiliarity with the pianos, but I could not seem to stop overpedaling the damper. I also tried to gauge if the damper was continuous or just had 3 positions (full, half and off), but I couldn't really come to a conclusion. At a certain point in the pedal, the damping would stop quite abruptly, and at another point, the sounds would decay faster, but I couldn't tell if I could control the rate at which the sounds would decay.

6) The Una Corda pedal does not shift the keyboard to the right. It also only adjusts the volume, it does not change the timbre.

N1:
7) The N1 is actually longer than the N2. However it does not have the vertical speakers down to the pedal board. I did not test any sound through the speakers on all 3 pianos, only on headphones.

N2:
8) Tried the TRS (tactile response), and it really does make a difference. You need to specifically turn it on every time you plug in the headphones.

N3:
9) The damper actually feels like it is shifting some sort of mechanism, so it simulates the damper on a real grand more authentically. (I looked underneath and it's actually just pushing on a pad) The N1 and N2 do not do this.

10) TRS on the N3 is MUCH stronger than on the N2, and feels much more authentic. I even felt the vibration in the pedals which does not happen on the N2. Overall the TRS is a much more convincing effect on the N3, however, before trying the N3, I thought the TRS on the N2 was pretty good... wink

11) There is a definite progression in "authenticity" as you go up from the N1 to the N3, but I'm not sure that the price points justify the progression...

I was feeling pretty good about the Avantgrands, THEN I had to go and try the real grands... Err... I'm sorry, there is just no comparison to the real thing. shocked Touch was buttery soft, dynamic range was huge (softest softs, loudest louds). You can shape the sound with subtle changes in your action. It's like the difference between playing a driving game and driving a real car...

I have to say though, my inexperience with grands means that I could not tell the sound differences between the different models. I mean, obviously the timbre for bass notes was richer on the CX7 vs the CX1, but I couldn't tell a CX1 from a CX2 or 3. I didn't think even the GB1 (which is so derisively dismissed by some people) was that bad. I guess when you are dying of thirst, any real water is like nectar and you won't distinguish if it's Evian or tap water. ( The salesguy offered to let me try the Bosendorfer in the other room, and I stupidly declined confused )

ARGH! Before I tried the real grands, I was pretty confident about purchasing the N1, but now I'm not sure frown But I think I need to just resign myself to a simulation for the time being in my circumstance...

I would be interested in other opinions about the heaviness of the keys... especially people who play on the Avantgrand AND lots of other accoustics. Is this a normal range of variation among grands? Are the Avantgrand keys adjustable mechanically for touch, and is that easy to do?


Edited by Acca (12/23/12 07:34 PM)

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#2003736 - 12/24/12 01:27 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
kippesc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 396
Loc: United States
The AG default touch is too heavy IMHO. The RD-700NX is too light. Nonetheless, I generally just turn them on and play, adjusting my own playing to the piano's default settings. I figure Richter took those horrible Soviet instruments as he found them, who am I to behave like the princess and the pea?

If you figure out the adjustment that allows you to voice interior lines more effectively, please pass it on. There aren't too many adjustments one can make on the AG. There is certainly no Brahms intermezzo/Chopin nocturne interior voicing mode button.
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#2003743 - 12/24/12 02:03 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: kippesc]
Acca Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 67
Originally Posted By: kippesc
The AG default touch is too heavy IMHO. The RD-700NX is too light. Nonetheless, I generally just turn them on and play, adjusting my own playing to the piano's default settings.


Wow kippesc, you have a Steinway AND an N2... I'm so jealous.

So you *do* find the Avantgrand heavy, it's not just my imagination. I'm just trying to find out if that heaviness is within a "normal" range of differences between all the different types of grands. It's strange that they said the action is straight from their grands, yet none of the ones I tried had an action anywhere near as heavy.

Originally Posted By: kippesc
I figure Richter took those horrible Soviet instruments as he found them, who am I to behave like the princess and the pea?


Haha good point, I guess the mark of a good player is the ability to adjust.

Originally Posted By: kippesc
If you figure out the adjustment that allows you to voice interior lines more effectively, please pass it on.


I just had a read of the manual, you are right, not too many adjustments that can be made. The interesting thing about one aspect of touch is, when I first connected up my current DP (Casio Privia) to the Vintage D software sound library, suddenly the keyboard felt lighter, and I really was able to hear all my emphasized notes with less effort (using the built-in sounds, I needed a much larger effort differential between the fingers). (Vintage D has more levels of sampling at different velocities, so it differentiates between more levels of force on the keys). I wonder if I would get the same result hooking an AG up.

Also, with any digital piano, the louder the volume level, the softer the touch seems to get, since less effort is required to produce sound.

What would be interesting to know is if a piano technician can actually adjust the mechanical friction levels of the action like in a real grand.

One thing I noticed is that the TRS strength level can be adjusted. So maybe the N3 I tested was adjusted to a stronger TRS level.


Edited by Acca (12/24/12 02:07 AM)

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#2003747 - 12/24/12 02:09 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Acca
What would be interesting to know is if a piano technician can actually adjust the mechanical friction levels of the action like in a real grand.


I recall that one of the forum members had a technician come in and do a big regulation on his N3 and likes the result a lot more (hopefully that's not the placebo effect). He posted a list of what was done, but now I don't recall what things got changed. I'll dig around and see if I can find the thread. If the person who had this done reads this, please chime in.

Edit: I think it was Melodialworks_Music in this thread. Apparently there were friction issues that needed solving and the tech was able to do it.


Edited by gvfarns (12/24/12 02:18 AM)

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#2003774 - 12/24/12 04:29 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
Acca Offline
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Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 67
Very interesting, gvfarns! Thanks!

The guys talked about a "lethargic" feel, and that's a much more accurate description. I think the actual force needed to press the key is not that hard, but it doesn't seem to move and bounce back as fast. Hmm having to get a tech to regulate it sounds like a bit of an expense, not to mention most techs would be unfamiliar with it...


Edited by Acca (12/24/12 05:58 AM)

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#2003777 - 12/24/12 04:46 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
For those of you who feel the action of the AvantGrand series is too heavy, you can change the velocity sensitivity from the default setting of 2 to 1. Press Voice while pressing the highest 'B'.

I think many of you need to go out and play more acoustic pianos so you can make more real world comparisons. The action of the N series is not heavy and if anything, it could be made substantially heavier.

When Yamaha introduces a hybrid using the action from a nine footer I'll be in line to trade in my N3.
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#2003779 - 12/24/12 05:10 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2324
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Dave is right in that changing the velocity curve (there are three) helps a lot to make it feel more responsive. Piano 2 is also a bit more lively in that regard - although tonally it is brighter and more metallic.

The action is a bit syrupy in my opinion but I personally found it within the normal range of pianos. They may all be a little different, just like acoustics. In fact it would be odd of there wasn't a unit to unit variation. The down weight on my N3 was almost identical to the Roland PHA-III action (approx 50 grammes). Maybe mine was lighter than the ones you've played? But once you've overcome that initial down weight on the Roland (and other DPs), that's it. On the AG there is a sense of a lot of mechanical goings-on throughout the key travel and I think there is some additional inertia on the AGs when compared to any other DP. But generally I found it a very realistic (as it should be) feeling.

I also think the psycho issues are there. OP talks about the louder it being the lighter it feels. Well, I think there's definitely some truth in that. Did you turn the AG up to comparable volume levels to the acoustic grands and compared directly then?

The "strength" of the TRS has nothing to do with it in terms of changing the feeling of heaviness. Remember the N3 also has a soundboard resonator and as you've found out the TRS extends to the pedals on the N3, it all adds a little something.

But they are indeed expensive. I stop short of saying overpriced but maybe they are. But there's nothing like them in the market.

But to anyone who doesn't REALLY NEED the ability to play quietly I would now always say, buy an acoustic. There's so much more to the experience.
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#2003785 - 12/24/12 06:04 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Dave Horne]
Acca Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 67
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne

I think many of you need to go out and play more acoustic pianos so you can make more real world comparisons. The action of the N series is not heavy and if anything, it could be made substantially heavier.


Well Dave, I had the opportunity to basically try 3 Avantgrands against 6 or 7 new grand pianos side by side, and all 3 AGs were similarly "lethargic" in my opinion. Different people will have different preferences, there are many stories about concert pianists who request for pianos to be regulated to what they are used to (heavier or lighter). There is no "one right way".

In this case I really felt the difference between my regular DP and the AG, and I definitely felt the difference comparing it with all those other grand pianos.

It seems a few people have also confirmed what I felt, in that thread posted by gvfarns.

Don't get me wrong though, it is still a lot more authentic than any DP I've played, including the Kawai GF keyboard. I just can't help feeling it could be even better.


Edited by Acca (12/24/12 06:10 AM)

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#2003787 - 12/24/12 06:09 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: EssBrace]
Acca Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 67
Originally Posted By: EssBrace

But to anyone who doesn't REALLY NEED the ability to play quietly I would now always say, buy an acoustic. There's so much more to the experience.


Well there are also silent options even for acoustics... I guess for me personally, I'm just lacking a proper space that can do a grand justice right now, so might just have to get an AG for now to tide me over...

Agreed with your other points, EssBrace.

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#2003792 - 12/24/12 06:22 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
Gigantoad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/12
Posts: 336
Sold my N1 last summer for pretty much these reasons. Sound isn't too great, and action too heavy, for me anyway. And I came to the conclusion that I want more than just a practice instrument at home. I want something that is enjoyable and makes me want to play music. The N1 didn't do that, at least not for long.

But I'm also not a pro player and have no plans whatsoever to ever perform outside my own four walls. So surely my requirements differ from others here. I now have a FP-7F which I use with whatever VST I like. Sometime soon I will have an acoustic upright (grand not an option because of space issues in my apartment) to complement it.

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#2003801 - 12/24/12 07:43 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
Karnevil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/06
Posts: 154
I actually like to practice on the heavy AvantGrand action, it's a very good "woodshedding" instrument. There is still something lacking there, so if you only practice on the AvantGrand for a certain period of time, and then go to a real acoustic, you'll be a bit thrown off at first.

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#2003851 - 12/24/12 09:44 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
ando Offline
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Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3331
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Acca, despite your relative lack of playing experience, you pretty much nailed it in your review, IMO. The AGs are just ok for me. They don't make the grade for me in terms of an instrument that I am inspired by, musically. For me, every argument in favour of AGs is pure a practical one. ie. it can be played silently, is always in tune, has a grand action. Everything else points me toward the acoustic, even an upright, over the AG. The lack of true rapid repeats and playing off the jack are major oversights that should have been addressed.

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#2003868 - 12/24/12 10:10 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
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#2003919 - 12/24/12 11:45 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: ando]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: ando
The lack of true rapid repeats and playing off the jack are major oversights that should have been addressed.


It's a disturbing thing, and I don't know that I'd classify it as an oversight. When we hear about instruments like this, we expect that the velocity is sensed around where the string is, so that any strike that throws the hammer up to string level should sound. But if that were the case, we wouldn't be having these issues with playing off the jack and rapid repeats (I haven't tried the latter). This apparently means that the two velocity sensors are not placed very close together. Perhaps it's just not possible to get the tolerances tight enough to be able to sense velocity in a small region near the end of the hammer movement? If so that is sad, and means we may need a completely different sensor technology than is used in the AG (which I had thought would have been an improvement over the switches used in regular digitals).

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#2003926 - 12/24/12 12:06 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
EssBrace Offline
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Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2324
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Well watching that Cyprien Katsaris video that Dave has posted again rams an unarguable truth home - if this guy can play some of this very demanding stuff on the AG then some of our criticisms (of the action and sensors) seem a bit churlish and frankly irrelevant. He certainly doesn't seem to be having problems with fast repetitions (watch @ 7:53!).
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#2003929 - 12/24/12 12:13 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Point taken. The questions is, though, how good could he make one of our normal digital pianos (even two-sensor versions) sound? How fast a repetition is a two-sensor action capable of if it's played by an uber-pro? It may be pretty fast, but that doesn't mean we can't feel a problem with it.

I am hesitant to draw any conclusions based on videos produced by the manufacturer for advertising purposes. They always make the product look amazing.

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#2003931 - 12/24/12 12:16 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: EssBrace]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3331
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Well watching that Cyprien Katsaris video that Dave has posted again rams an unarguable truth home - if this guy can play some of this very demanding stuff on the AG then some of our criticisms (of the action and sensors) seem a bit churlish and frankly irrelevant. He certainly doesn't seem to be having problems with fast repetitions (watch @ 7:53!).


Actually, it still doesn't do repeats properly. He's doing mostly two-handed repeats, which any piano can do - even an upright. And he's actually struggling to get the piano to do them. Can't you guys hear that he's on the edge of not being able to do them? Some of the repeats don't actually sound.

But what I was referring to earlier was the fact that the dampers are supposed to stay off when you do rapid repeats - letting them blend together somewhat. Those repeats in the video are excessively separate and staccato sounding. Now either he is intentionally letting the key rise enough to activate the damper, or the piano itself can't do it. Either way, I haven't heard undamped rapid repeats on an AG - but I have heard many people complain that they can't do it on their AG. They aren't pleasant and flowing, they are jarring. To be honest I found the piano sound in that video really insipid and totally lacking in resonance and colour. All that video shows is that the guy can play - but we already knew that. For me, it's just not an inspiring musical instrument. The way Cyrprien waxes lyrical in the video only proves that he was sponsored to do it. None of it rang true to me - comparing AGs to a relationship with a woman...please.

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#2003940 - 12/24/12 12:43 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2324
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
I agree it doesn't sound very good. Judging it by the standards of YouTube audio is perhaps not giving a fair picture - but the main problem is that the AG has four channel sound and no conventional recording can convey that. Through headphones I find the AG okay but nothing very special. Through the onboard sound system - particularly N3 and N2 - it is much better.

Comparing it to a woman reminds me of the Fast Show character Swiss Tony...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBw-aEixWuo
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#2003955 - 12/24/12 01:10 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
36251 Offline
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Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 646
For me the AG was going to be it, cause I wanted a grand action and I don't have the room. The sound had to have a minimum requirement that these videos helped me decide. I like the Randy Waldman ones which are the final set.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid53923107001


Edited by 36251 (12/24/12 01:26 PM)
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AvantGrand N2, FP-4, Gallien-Krueger MK & MP

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#2003961 - 12/24/12 01:18 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: ando]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: ando
None of it rang true to me - comparing AGs to a relationship with a woman...please.


Well, you know, not all pianos are very responsive. Sometimes they are downright sluggish or don't have a lot of tonal color. And not all pianos can do rapid repeats, especially if the player is only mediocre. So...


Edited by gvfarns (12/24/12 01:20 PM)

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#2003972 - 12/24/12 01:43 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: EssBrace]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3331
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
I agree it doesn't sound very good. Judging it by the standards of YouTube audio is perhaps not giving a fair picture - but the main problem is that the AG has four channel sound and no conventional recording can convey that. Through headphones I find the AG okay but nothing very special. Through the onboard sound system - particularly N3 and N2 - it is much better.

Comparing it to a woman reminds me of the Fast Show character Swiss Tony...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBw-aEixWuo


They manage to record acoustic pianos which have infinite "channels" of sound. Might as well put a couple of piano mikes over it, in places more or less equivalent to where you'd put them on an acoustic piano. Mikes should be able to hear what's there.

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#2003991 - 12/24/12 02:11 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: ando]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4269
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: ando
The way Cyrprien waxes lyrical in the video only proves that he was sponsored to do it. None of it rang true to me - comparing AGs to a relationship with a woman...please.

I cringe with embarrassment every time I see that video. I wonder if Yamaha payed him per compliment.
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#2003999 - 12/24/12 02:35 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: ando]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2324
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: ando
They manage to record acoustic pianos which have infinite "channels" of sound. Might as well put a couple of piano mikes over it, in places more or less equivalent to where you'd put them on an acoustic piano. Mikes should be able to hear what's there.


I agree. And the better AG videos are mic'd - not from line-outs.
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#2004007 - 12/24/12 03:00 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
sullivang Offline
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Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Well, I'm confused. There have been prior reports in here that the A.G line DOES emulate double-escapement. (i.e - repeats for relatively shallow key releases, and without damping)

Acca: have you actually tried carefully to do a repeat, releasing the key to a point JUST BEFORE the point at which the note is damped? I.e, do it very slowly and carefully. (obviously not too slowly, because the note must still be audible when you try the repeat) If you can make it pass this test, then that means that it does emulate double-escapement, however it may well be that the double-escapement repeat height is too high for your liking. That's a seperate issue.

If you really did have to release the key two-thirds of the way up, then that's absurd IMHO.

Greg.
p.s Don't fly out of the country again just to repeat this...repeat. ;^)


Edited by sullivang (12/24/12 03:21 PM)

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#2004026 - 12/24/12 03:35 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yeah, I think as we look at repeating ability and how high a key must be lifted before playing, we should first do it with acoustic grands and uprights in order to determine that our testing methodology is sound. The effect of the double escapement (in acoustics) is subtle enough that you have to be real careful in order to detect the effect.

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#2004035 - 12/24/12 04:04 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
sullivang Offline
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Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
I remembered having discussed this not that long ago. Here is a post from a user who initially thought that the N1 did not emulate double-escapement, but after carefully testing, admitted that it does. However, the release height was felt to be higher than a C1 acoustic grand.

Re: Promised to write a review of my new instrument:N1

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (12/24/12 04:06 PM)

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#2004113 - 12/24/12 09:00 PM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: sullivang]
Acca Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 67
Originally Posted By: sullivang

Acca: have you actually tried carefully to do a repeat, releasing the key to a point JUST BEFORE the point at which the note is damped? I.e, do it very slowly and carefully. (obviously not too slowly, because the note must still be audible when you try the repeat) If you can make it pass this test, then that means that it does emulate double-escapement, however it may well be that the double-escapement repeat height is too high for your liking. That's a seperate issue.


Double escapement seems to mean different things to different people and even manufacturers.

I think it is quite clear from the mechanism of a grand piano that double escapement means the mechanism by which the hammer doesn't return all the way down but is above the back check, ready for a repeat note. See this link.

What is not explicitly shown there is how far the key has to be lifted before the hammer is released from the back check. The animation in that link says "release half-way", but it's not really half way, it's just above the "notch" in the key travel. That's usually the last 1/4 of key travel.

Bottom line is, the AG's double escapement point is not at the notch like in a real grand. It's not a case of the repeat height being too high for my liking, it's about how the AG is different from what it is trying to simulate, which is a grand piano.

HOWEVER, I also think it's probably not as big a deal as I am making it out to be. The only time it may be a factor is in pieces like the Scarlatti K141, where there are fast repeats of the same note. Even then, good finger technique involves striking each note with a different finger, which allows time for the key to bounce up high enough. In fact, good finger technique will overcome most limitations, but obviously the higher escapement height will be less tolerant to sloppiness, and may affect the ultimate achievable speed.

I agree with Ando above... Cyprien was struggling to do those fast repeats, and he is an accomplished pianist, so it's not his ability that's the problem.


Edited by Acca (12/24/12 09:20 PM)

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#2004204 - 12/25/12 05:08 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: Acca

Double escapement seems to mean different things to different people and even manufacturers.


I have a piano tuning & rebuilding book, and it describes the double-escapement mechanism in detail - both how it works, and the benefit to the player. One of the behaviours is that it allows repeating notes without the notes being damped, and thus, one test for double-escapement is the test I gave - to see whether a note can be repeated by releasing the key to a point just before the note is damped. I.e - the note should be able to be repeated whilst the previous note is still sounding.
In an upright piano, the notes cannot be repeated before the damping point. (although someone reported here recently that they could in fact get an upright to repeat without damping, but only intermittently) Now, I said "behaviour", because I don't really think that being able to repeat before the damping point is very advantageous per se. It's the fact that the note can be repeated for small key releases that is the main advantage. (as you already know)

Now, when you tested to see how far the key had to be released in order to be able to repeat, did you try repeating BEFORE the note was damped? If not, you did not take into account double-escapement repeats at all. The correct way to determine the minimum release distance is to play a note, lift the key a tiny amount, press down again, and see if it repeats. Keep lifting off a bit more each time, until you hear a new note.
If you simply lifted off until the note was damped, that will definitely not tell you the minimum release height.

If you really, really could not repeat unless the key was lifted two-thirds of the way up, again, I think that is very bad indeed, because that's how I would expect an upright piano to behave - not a grand piano. (the book says that an upright cannot repeat unless the key is returned all the way to the top, although I don't think they really mean ALL the way - just "near" the top)

Maybe someone could actually take some measurements. A tire tread depth gauge works well, if a proper key-dip tool is not available. (a standard ruler can of course be used, with a bit of care)

Greg.

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#2004206 - 12/25/12 05:15 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Acca]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5260
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
You know, I'm reading all this semi technical stuff about double escapement and I've never felt at any time, either on my GranTouch or my AvantGrand N3, that I was in any way limited. I have a fair amount of technique I should add.

Sometimes I have the feeling this is a audiophile forum and we're discussing esoteric aspects of sound. When we finally meet in person to listen to music on our host's $7,000 turntable, $19,000 tube amplifier, $40,000 speakers, along with the requisite gold plated connectors, we settle down and listen to Sousa marches. smile
_________________________
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#2004208 - 12/25/12 05:26 AM Re: Extensive testing of Avantgrands [Re: Dave Horne]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2324
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
When we finally meet in person to listen to music on our host's $7,000 turntable, $19,000 tube amplifier, $40,000 speakers, along with the requisite gold plated connectors, we settle down and listen to Sousa marches. smile


Who says I'm hosting?! But since you've described my hi-fi system in uncannily accurate detail when are you all coming over? I've got mince pies and an audiophile pressing of How Much is that Doggy in the Window to assess before moving on to discuss double escapement and its irrelevance to 99.9% of players.
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Yamaha CP1

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