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#2306258 - 07/24/14 01:17 AM Need advice on buying a Yamaha Disklavier
Lady Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 19
I am finally taking the plunge and buying a Yamaha Disklavier. Still have to make my final choice, though, and that is where I am hoping to get some help. I have narrowed it down to two different models--one new, and one used--both from the same dealer. Here is where it gets tough. I have gotten so many conflicting stories from different stores about the differences between different models of Yamahas (and Yamaha’s website is no help at all) that I am not sure if I am basing my decision on correct information. So, I have created a table with what I know (or think I know) and hope that those of you who know the specifics of each model can tell me if I have my facts straight and offer any other pertinent facts or advice that might be useful in my decision.


E Series: DGB1KE3
New - $21,000
*10 year warranty from Yamaha
*5’0” entry level model
*Walnut cabinet (special order)
*Made in Indonesia
*Keys move in player mode
*Latest Disklavier technology
*Internet connection
*USB ports
*Integrated CD Drive
*Can record 2 tracks, i.e. record on part of a duet and then combine with second part of a duet.

Option 2:

Mark IV: DGC1M4
Used – 2005 - $17,000
*2 year warranty from dealer
*5’3” – 1 step up from entry level
*Ebony black
*Made in Japan
*Although not a Pro model, the Mark IV series is a better build than the DGB1KE3
*Keys and pedals move in player mode
*Plays in silent mode with headset
*Internet connection
*USB ports
*Floppy drive (obsolete) instead of CD drive
*Can record multiple tracks (16?), i.e. record a duet plus add voices of different musical instruments.
*Internal hard drive

Did I get this right? Anything else important I should know? Is there anything the newer E3 Disklavier system can do that the Mark IV can’t do, keeping in mind it was built in 2005?
Since both models are within my budget, I am not using initial cost as a determining factor. I am, however, interested in knowing thoughts on which one would bring a higher resale price in about 3 years when we retire and downsize. Although the new E3 is priced higher right now, I would have to take the initial depreciation hit which is already factored into the used Mark IV price. Any advice will be much appreciated.

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#2311589 - 08/05/14 05:10 PM Re: Need advice on buying a Yamaha Disklavier [Re: Lady]
Left-CA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/14/14
Posts: 40
Keep in mind one can always have the dealer upgrade the player system.

I know you stated that you already narrowed down your options to those two but I recommend you search craigslist also, both choices seem on the high side of the pricing spectrum.


Op 28. No. 4,6,7 -Sept 2013
Op. 10 No. 4 -Aug 2013
Op. 25 No 1 -Aug 2014
Op. 18 -April 2010
Op. 34 No. 2 -Jan 2011
Op. 64. No. 2 -July 2011
Paganini Etude No. 6 -June 2014
H. Rhapsody No. 2 -Jan 2013

#2311802 - 08/06/14 02:36 AM Re: Need advice on buying a Yamaha Disklavier [Re: Lady]
Corvus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/13
Posts: 84
The only upgrading that can be done on Disklaviers is the head unit. The actual playback/recording system cannot be upgraded; however, you could get a cd player head unit for the Mark IV (they cost about $850).

An E3Pro system, which is only installed on C3 or larger grands, is somewhat better than the Mark IV system.
However, the Mark IV is definitely superior to the E3 system installed on the shorter grands. I would definitely go with the Mark IV.

The dealer in Salt Lake has a Mark IV C2 which has never left the store, on sale for $32,000.

#2311902 - 08/06/14 10:53 AM Re: Need advice on buying a Yamaha Disklavier [Re: Corvus]
terminaldegree Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3494
Loc: WI --> GA
Originally Posted By: Corvus

An E3Pro system, which is only installed on C3 or larger grands, is somewhat better than the Mark IV system.
However, the Mark IV is definitely superior to the E3 system installed on the shorter grands. I would definitely go with the Mark IV.

Hi Corvus,

Could you expand on why you think that's the case? (I'm not challenging your statement, I just want to learn more). Thanks.
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#2312001 - 08/06/14 04:11 PM Re: Need advice on buying a Yamaha Disklavier [Re: Lady]
Corvus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/28/13
Posts: 84
One of the key features of the highest quality reproducing piano systems—Live Performance LX, Bösendorfer SE (and presumably Ceus, although I can't really say as Bösendorfer doesn't really discuss the technical details of that system), and the better Disklavier systems—is that they measure not just the key velocity, but also the hammer shank velocity, which is more directly related to the sound produced than the key velocity, allowing a more accurate reproduction of the original performance.

The Mark IV system (and Mark III and II, at least) use hammer shank velocity sensors. .

At some point, I think partway through Mark II production, but for sure by the time of its successor the Mark III, Yamaha added the higher-level Pro line of Disklaviers, e.g. Mark III Pro, Mark IV Pro, etc.

These Pro systems had additional refinement in the ability to distinguish between about 1000 levels of velocity, as opposed to about 150 levels on the regular line. I believe they also had a finer gradation of damper pedal deployment—maybe 300 levels as opposed to 100? I am not looking these things up for this post, just writing from memory.

The Mark IV and Mark IV Pro were both Very fine systems, but were also expensive to produce, and figuring (correctly, no doubt) that most consumers did not really appreciate the higher quality, and would rather have lower cost, Yamaha introduced the E3 line, which did NOT use hammer shank velocity sensors, saving a lot of money in construction, but reducing the performance quality.

Then Yamaha decided to phase out the Mark IV, and have two systems: the Disklavier E3Pro, equal in quality to the Mark IVPro, installed only on their flagship C (now CX) series from the C3 6-foot + model on up, and the Disklavier E3, without hammer shank velocity sensors, and with sollenoids that reproduce fewer levels of velocity, on everything else.

Strangely, in the rest of the world you can also get an upright disklavier with hammer shank velocity sensors, but the only upright disklaviers now sold in North America do not have hammer shank velocity sensors.

I spent a lot of time in the (often very frustrating) endeavor of trying to understand the reproducing piano market from a consumer perspective. I would certainly welcome any corrections or additional info from anyone else!


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