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#676982 - 06/03/03 11:26 PM Yamaha Clavinova CVP-201 vs. Technics SX-PR53
Annette Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/03/03
Posts: 6
Loc: NJ
Hi - I've been looking at digital pianos (ones with rhythms) and I was hoping for some input on two of the models I'm contemplating. One is the Yamaha Clavinova CVP-201 and the other is the Technics SX-PR53. I don't currently play the piano but I want to learn. I also have a young child who has shown interest in the piano so I'm looking for something that will suit us as we learn and after we become better. Has anyone tried these two pianos - can you help me determine which is the better choice?

Both pianos are priced about the same (The Clavinova is a little bit less expensive and has a better warrantee 5yrsvs. 3 yrs parts). Both have weighted keyboards (88 keys). Part of my delima is that (while I haven't been able to see them side by side) the Technics seems to sound better (is this correct?) but the cabinet is cheap looking. The Clavinova has a beautiful cabinet but doesn't seem to sound quite as nice (almost a little muffled?). The Clavinova has a learning feature that (with a disk) indicates which keys to play for a song or lesson. You can select which hand you what to practice the piano fills in the rest of the music. You can also choose whether you keep up with the orchestration or it waits for you. There's also a tempo practice mode. (Is this learning feature really useful or not?) The clavinova has 64 polyphony the technics 32--does this matter for home use? (some dealers have said it does some have said it won't affect me). I think the Clavinova may have more voices (but it's hard to tell).

I'm just not sure if the sound of the Technics is worth the trade off of the learning feature and the cabinetry of the Clavinova. If I get the Clavinova will I always think it sounds a bit muffled or will I forget about that? Do the learning features really help one learn (it would be nice to be able to start playing music immediately but is just a very short term advantage and not really learning?) Due to space constraints, this piano will be in a very visible place in my living room so the cabinetry is a factor.

Any insight is greatly appreciated!

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#676983 - 06/04/03 12:12 AM Re: Yamaha Clavinova CVP-201 vs. Technics SX-PR53
JimM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/02
Posts: 200
Loc: Northern California
I know of no "independent" reviews of digital pianos, although you might search the Keyboard web site www.keyboardmag.com/ and try www.harmony-central.com. The latter has user reviews. Sites like this one are very good sources of information (although expect everybody to say what they have is best!) There's an excellent Clavinova user group at www.cvpug.com (again, full of Yamaha fanatics!)

Piano sounds are very subjective and you should go with your ear. Same with keyboard feel. If in doubt, ask an experienced player to go with you - maybe the teacher you'll get for you and your daughter. There is controversy about how much polyphony you need, but I think there would be general agreement that 32 voices is pretty small - search this site for a long "polyphony" thread that discussed the issue a few months ago.

I have owned both a Roland KR and Yamaha CVP and like both of them very much. Can't help with the Technics but many people like the feel and sound. You might also look at Roland (KR and HP series) and Kawai. I think the Clavinova is the only one with the guide feature for learning - I've never used mine since I can read music fairly well.
_________________________
=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900

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#676984 - 06/04/03 01:35 AM Re: Yamaha Clavinova CVP-201 vs. Technics SX-PR53
Roxane Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 932
I second JimM that there are no truly independent reviews. Different reviewers will have different things to say about exactly the same keyboard, simply because everyone's preferences, priorities and perceptions are different. To some, having all the bells and whistles is the major consideration. To others (like me), the touch is most important and the sound only needs to be decent, while yet others find the sound paramount. There are also different preferences for touch: some like it light, some heavy. Same goes for sound: some like it bright, some mellow. And for most, the price is a prominent factor in the equation. Most of the brands mentioned in forums such as these, e.g. Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, are highly reputable ones and are endorsed by different people with different needs. You would not go too far wrong with any of these brands.

The CVP range of Clavinovas have more functions, but also cost more. The CLPs have fewer of these, functioning mainly as digital pianos. The CLP-170, CLP-990 and CVP 900 all have "natural" feel keyboards, which are supposed to be simulate the touch of an acoustic piano, and all these models have string resonance in their piano samples, which is important for a more realistic sound. Note that I have not played any of these particular models, just offering some points for you to consider.

Only you can decide what appeals to you. Since you don't play, you might want to bring along a piano-playing friend to help you decide, especially on the action.

And something else to think about: if your child shows talent and seriously considers the piano in the future, you would have to purchase an acoustic eventually. Many may tell you that a digital would suffice, but many techniques in piano-playing, some of them subtle, but important nonetheless, require the action of an acoustic. And even then, you would need a grand piano to accomplish some of these.

With this in mind, you might want to re-work your budget. It would also be helpful if you posted your budget, so that more pertinent suggestions may be made.

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#676985 - 06/04/03 10:33 AM Re: Yamaha Clavinova CVP-201 vs. Technics SX-PR53
franzooey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 95
Annette,

First, you might want to read one of the previous threads (called "Digital Piano Advice," I think, started by Anna). I say this because a lot of useful advice (about sampling, polyphony, speakers, etc.) has already been covered there.

If the Technics sounds better to your ears, trust your judgment. Every person has her preferenece, and preference is never wrong. If it helps, I tried both the CVP-201 and CVP-203 and I too was disappointed by the basic piano sounds (though I was delighted by all the extras). I agree: they sounded muffled and kind of digital-ish. Be sure to play around with the settings, though. You can increase/decrease the brightness or mellowness on the Clavinovas. Also, sometimes the default piano sound (the one that pops up when you turn on the unit) may not be the one you like the most. For instance, I own the Clavinova CLP-150, but I don't care much for the Grand Piano 1 sound that is the default. I much prefer the second choice: mellow piano, which seems much richer and fuller. I guess I'm saying, make sure you try the Claivnova models again and check out all the piano sounds. Maybe you simply tinkered with the default (Grand Piano 1) and decided you didn't like it.

A couple comments. I haven't tried the Technics, so I can't say too much about it, but I do know the Clavinova line fairly well. The lower-end CVP's don't sound as hot to me. They have lots of bells and whistles, but the default piano sounds seem lacking. I know that you are interested in bells and whistles, but you might want to a least try the CLP line. The CLP's are basically Yamaha's digital piano line, sans all the extras. The CLP-130, for example, sounds stronger (as a piano) than the CVP-201 or 203. My CLP-150 also comes with 480 XG sounds, so I am able to goof around somewhat (the lower CLP's are limited in sounds, though). True, the CLP's won't have the guide light feature and style sheets, but as a digital piano that sounds great and looks good in the living room, you might want to give it a shot.

Finally, you might want to visit www.cvpug.com. This is a CVP Users Group, and you can search for the archives and lear a lot. You can even post your same questions there and probably receive some nice feedback.

Good luck, and let us know when you've narrowed your choices more.

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#676986 - 06/04/03 06:54 PM Re: Yamaha Clavinova CVP-201 vs. Technics SX-PR53
Annette Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/03/03
Posts: 6
Loc: NJ
Thanks to those who responded. The information was helpful. I had read the previous thread called "Digital Piano Advice," (started by Anna)and did find it to have a lot of good information.
To all those who said "Trust your ears" thank you. I went back out again to different stores and listened to the Clavinova and the Technics. I found the Technics sound to be superior (at least my ears did). I think the speakers are just better. Also the speakers face the floor and seem to better emulate an acoustic sound. Regarding the cabinetry and the bells and whistles. Technics is replacing the PR53 with the PR54 in a couple of months. The PR54 closes the gap with the Clavinova. So, long story short, I'm waiting for the Technics PR54 -- best sound and most of the bells and whistles I wanted. and the cabinetry is a tiny bit better too.

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