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#1327685 - 12/17/09 06:53 PM AvantGrand: new video reviews  
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ArtVision Offline
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For everyone who is interested in AvantGrand pianos,
I have just come across these all-star round-table video reviews
http://www.keyboardmag.com/article/avantgrand-all-star-roundtable/December-2009/104711

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#1327778 - 12/17/09 09:00 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: ArtVision]  
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I just commented on another post about this...

But I have to add, I was impressed by the sound. Well kinda... I felt it was bad to compare it to a 30 (?) yr old piano that's been heavily used / beaten up. Wouldn't pay that much for it either.


Elizabeth
@->-->--

Kimball 4520, Yamaha CP70-B, Yamaha PSR-150
#1328063 - 12/18/09 05:42 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: WeatherTheLizard]  
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The reviews were inconclusive, yet they mentioned that the demonstration room was too small like a closet, the N2 did not give the impression of embracing grand piano sound, even N3 keyboard felt not as responsive as that old Yamaha C7 used as a reference. All reviewers were way too polite to give any direct critical comments about AvantGrand pianos.

#1328649 - 12/18/09 09:43 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: ArtVision]  
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Originally Posted by ArtVision
All reviewers were way too polite to give any direct critical comments about AvantGrand pianos.


As someone who is keenly interested in trying the Avant Grand I found the video somewhat disheartening. I felt sorry for the Englishman who was at a loss for words because he couldn't seem to think of anything good to say. Then he put his foot in his mouth when he commented that he didn't feel enveloped by the sound. I was under the impression that this was to be one of the defining attributes of the AG.

I think Yamaha did themselves a real disservice with this attempt to promote their product, but they deserve credit for putting the results in the public domain.


Aspiring Retirement Home Lounge Pianist
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#1328662 - 12/18/09 09:57 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: OldFingers]  
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You have to hear it in real life. It needs room to breathe just like an acoustic.

When I play mine, it's like I'm in the middle of the sound. The piano feels alive.

You'll know what I mean when you actually play it.

Snazzy


Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1328671 - 12/18/09 10:12 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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Originally Posted by snazzyplayer
You have to hear it in real life. It needs room to breathe just like an acoustic.

When I play mine, it's like I'm in the middle of the sound. The piano feels alive.

You'll know what I mean when you actually play it.

Snazzy


Snazzy, I needed that, thanks. I'll definitely try it in the New Year.

Having personal experience with the AG, do you agree that the demos were disappointing, in spite of the talent of the musicians?

Bob


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#1328681 - 12/18/09 10:30 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: OldFingers]  
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I rarely take much out of videos...an instrument like the Avant Grand, or Roland's V-Piano, has to be played.

That's the only way.

Especially the Avant Grand because of the tactile feedback.

I will say, that I expected the Avant Grand to be very good...it went far beyond my expectations. I still get a real rush out of the first few chords and notes....it still has the power to surprise.

Yamaha have really taken the digital piano seriously, and it shows in the Avant Grand, and the new stage pianos that are being discussed on another thread.

Snazzy



Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1328691 - 12/18/09 10:46 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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While I enjoyed watching, I also found it a little disappointing. I've watched the first two reviewers, and it struck me that the second reviewer praised the mid-upper range, and was overall quite positive and polite, but he compared the bass to the sound of an older piano where the bass strings are going sour. That does not speak well for it at all, in my opinion.

I appreciate that Yamaha was willing to stick their neck out there and arrange the 'roundtable', but I'm not sure that 1/4 the price of a C7 is enticing, since that is a lot of money.



charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
#1328693 - 12/18/09 10:52 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: charleslang]  
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Watching is not playing.

Play it. The videos don't tell you anything. It's when you play it that it makes you feel like you're playing a grand piano....an astonishingly good grand piano.

It smokes my Steinway B.

Snazzy


Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1328697 - 12/18/09 11:08 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: OldFingers]  
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Originally Posted by OldFingers
Originally Posted by ArtVision
All reviewers were way too polite to give any direct critical comments about AvantGrand pianos.


As someone who is keenly interested in trying the Avant Grand I found the video somewhat disheartening. I felt sorry for the Englishman who was at a loss for words because he couldn't seem to think of anything good to say. Then he put his foot in his mouth when he commented that he didn't feel enveloped by the sound. I was under the impression that this was to be one of the defining attributes of the AG.

I think Yamaha did themselves a real disservice with this attempt to promote their product, but they deserve credit for putting the results in the public domain.


After watching the third gentleman (the one you're talking about), I would add the word 'depressing' to the adjectives for this video. The Yamaha representative is obviously trying to keep spirits up, but he's talking to a seasoned musician who is not inclined to play along with the infomercial.

I'm sure the AvantGrand is cutting edge for digital pianos.


charlessamuellang.com
Semi-pro pianist and piano technician
Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
#1328701 - 12/18/09 11:22 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: charleslang]  
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Okay, the final guy is the best video, as far as the piano goes. It's not depressing at least!


charlessamuellang.com
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#1328707 - 12/18/09 11:28 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: charleslang]  
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The last guy goes in there understanding the piano and using it for what it's best for.

The third guy, the British guy, went in there obviously trying to make it hard for the digital from the beginning. The first things he played were basically exactly the kind of thing a digital has trouble imitating. Lots of subtle pedal work, tricky harmonies and so on.


charlessamuellang.com
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#1328845 - 12/19/09 05:42 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: OldFingers]  
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Originally Posted by OldFingers
Originally Posted by ArtVision
All reviewers were way too polite to give any direct critical comments about AvantGrand pianos.


As someone who is keenly interested in trying the Avant Grand I found the video somewhat disheartening. I felt sorry for the Englishman who was at a loss for words because he couldn't seem to think of anything good to say. Then he put his foot in his mouth when he commented that he didn't feel enveloped by the sound. I was under the impression that this was to be one of the defining attributes of the AG.

I think Yamaha did themselves a real disservice with this attempt to promote their product, but they deserve credit for putting the results in the public domain.


I am glad I saw this video which pretty much confirmed my own opinions of the N3 after trying it myself. I was so hyped up from the media and marketing that I had actually expected to experience an indistinguishable experience from a grand piano. I didn't think I was going to get the feeling of playing a CFIIIS but I would not be disappointed if it felt like playing a C3 or C2, even a C1. However, on the first chord it is clear as day that the piano sound has the typical character of piano sound coming out of speakers not a real piano. There is no envelopment of sound going on at all. It's very much coming out of those speakers. Still, the audience may not be able to tell as well as the pianist, and someone listening to the recording from the AG N3 is even harder to tell the difference.

Once you get over the fact that it is a digital piano, then you could enjoy it since it's a very advanced digital piano, and very enjoyable to play. The action is wonderful. If you sit in front of it for the first time thinking it will sound like the Yamaha acoustic grand just like the one in your living room where the entire piano is filled with sound that grows all around you, you will be very disappointed.

My own opinion is that the N3 has very similar tone to at least the C5 or C6, but it's coming out of speakers, clearly, and not coming out of the whole piano like it should. The sound was too directional. I am not down on this instrument at all. It's like a brand new C6 that never needs tuning for $15K but just not completely real. I think it has many advantages that an acoustic grand does not have, but in the realism area, at least, it is still lacking. I also think it is too pricey. It should cost less than the Yamaha GB1.

Notice that while the N3 and N2 has warts, many of the reviewers wanted to take one home. Once you realize it is a digital, then you could get excited and see it for what it is. Also, any pianist with digital experience would see the advancements made compared to other stuff and appreciate it for that. A acoustic purest who has never tried to record himself or herself through WAV or MIDI directly to USB on his piano and realize this is the best one yet with those capabilities would probably focus solely on the fact that the resonance or string interactions or whatever just isn't quite there.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#1328877 - 12/19/09 08:07 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: 4evrBeginR]  
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Originally Posted by 4evr88keys


Once you get over the fact that it is a digital piano, then you could enjoy it since it's a very advanced digital piano, and very enjoyable to play. The action is wonderful. If you sit in front of it for the first time thinking it will sound like the Yamaha acoustic grand just like the one in your living room where the entire piano is filled with sound that grows all around you, you will be very disappointed.

My own opinion is that the N3 has very similar tone to at least the C5 or C6, but it's coming out of speakers, clearly, and not coming out of the whole piano like it should. The sound was too directional. I am not down on this instrument at all. It's like a brand new C6 that never needs tuning for $15K but just not completely real. I think it has many advantages that an acoustic grand does not have, but in the realism area, at least, it is still lacking. I also think it is too pricey. Notice that while the N3 and N2 has warts, many of the reviewers wanted to take one home. Once you realize it is a digital, then you could get excited and see it for what it is. Also, any pianist with digital experience would see the advancements made compared to other stuff and appreciate it for that. A acoustic purest who has never tried to record himself or herself through WAV or MIDI directly to USB on his piano and realize this is the best one yet with those capabilities would probably focus solely on the fact that the resonance or string interactions or whatever just isn't quite there.


Well said, 4evr88keys,

Exactly my sentiments.

I will say something about the realism. Zeke and I have a friend who is always dissing digitals. We told him I had bought a replacement for my Steinway B, but we wanted him to guess what kind of piano it was.

Blindfolded, and seated in front of the Avant Grand, he proceeded to play, nodding his head knowingly, and saying that this was definitely a "new" piano (I had bought my Steinway B secondhand).

It was after about 15 minutes that he said, "This is a digital, isn't it?".

He could detect the slight lack of overtones and string resonance (he's got a great ear) but, for the first time after playing a "digital", he said, "This is the most impressive piece of work I have ever played."

He also commented that the action was the best he's ever played, acoustic or not.
.
It was even funnier when we played back his performance in Wav. That sounded scary...it was like a perfect recording of a piano in a pristine studio environment.

No, he didn't order one.

No, it is not for the purist, and I doubt if Yamaha was intending that market. It is for people like me who hate hearing their piano drift slowly and inexorably out of tune with itself and other instruments. It is for the terminally lazy like me, who detest any form of maintenance on anything (that's why I drive a Honda). It is for those who like hassle-free recording, and being able to MIDI a device to a piano. It is for those who want an esthetically beautiful instrument, both aurally and visually, and which provides incredible tactile feedback that is glaringly absent in any other digital piano.

I think it sounds better than my Steinway B, which was the envy of the neighborhood, and now resides in Zeke's studio, for those who want to play a "real" piano.

Lowell, our friend who tried the AG blindfolded, thinks otherwise, but, I have never seen his gast so flabbered.

It is not for the purist, so they can look elsewhere...you have my blessing. wink

Snazzy




Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1328938 - 12/19/09 10:49 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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I'm really interested in playing one of these, don't seem to be in any of the dealers in my area in the Chicago burbs. I left a note for several of them to call me if they got one in. To be honest I've gotten so attached to the variety and quality of software pianos that I'm not sure I'd be as happy with the sound as I might have at one point. If I think about spending north of ten grand on a DP knowing I'd be likely to run it through my computer, I have to question my sanity.


Yamaha P90
#1329001 - 12/19/09 12:26 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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Originally Posted by snazzyplayer
No, it is not for the purist

Snazzy, I'd be perfectly happy to keep my RX-3 if it wasn't so loud that it had to be muffled with acoustic paneling and string blankets and that didn't sound so bright in the 5th octave. While my Ivory/MP8ii does not have those problems, I have to use headphones, it's dynamic range is compressed and the overall experience is somewhat flat. I don't think my demands are too, too unreasonable and I don't think I'm being a purist. Maybe the AG is the answer, but, read on.

Originally Posted by MarkL
To be honest I've gotten so attached to the variety and quality of software pianos that I'm not sure I'd be as happy with the sound as I might have at one point.

Mark, this is exactly my concern with the AG. At least with my Ivory/MP8ii setup, there are a multitude of presets, all of which I have explored, and all of which I ignore except the "Expressionistic German D". Since Synthogy was able to manipulate their samples to create such an array of piano sounds, why didn't Yamaha? I don't want a harpsichord or anything else except the sound of piano that is satisfying to my ears. They could have at least provided as many C7 presets in the AG as Synthogy did in Ivory.

It seems to me that digital technology applied to the piano allows for the personal customization of sound that, in one box, can appeal to a wide range of musical tastes and acoustic spaces. I even anticipate the day when some clever designer puts a computer in the box that allows sampling, modeling and automatic room equalization. Then we would have everything.

But I digress, I will definitely try the AG, and hope that the one preset happens to be a better alternative to my RX-3.

Last edited by OldFingers; 12/19/09 12:28 PM.

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#1329012 - 12/19/09 12:36 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: MarkL]  
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MarkL,

I have them in stock. Skokie, IL. Call me 847-679-9160


Jeff Tasch

Grand Piano Haus


We proudly represent: Yamaha, Bösendorfer, Steingraeber & Söhne, Kayserburg, Ritmüller, Pearl River, CEUS, Disklavier Enspire, AvantGrand, Clavinova, & Live-Performance model-LX http://www.GrandPianoHaus.com.
#1329021 - 12/19/09 12:44 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: OldFingers]  
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Oldfingers,

I immediately liked the sound of the Avant Grand. It wasn't a process, it was the piano sound that I just like to hear.

I can play it for hours and not tire of the tone, and having the Rhodes samples are a nice touch, but not necessary.

It is the total experience that sold me...the piano voices, the proper and realistic tactile feedback, the excellent action, and the feeling of being immersed in the sound.

Again, it is still a digital piano, albeit a one-of-a-kind instrument that comes close enough to the real deal to make me very content.

You have to play it to decide...the online videos and specs don't convey the experience at all.

Snazzy


Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1329469 - 12/19/09 09:55 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: Grand Piano Haus]  
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Originally Posted by Grand Piano Haus
MarkL,
I have them in stock. Skokie, IL. Call me 847-679-9160
Jeff Tasch
Grand Piano Haus


Thanks, I'll give you a call. I'm in St Charles, long trip to Skokie but I'm off between Christmas and New Year's so might make it there one day.


Yamaha P90
#1329538 - 12/20/09 12:17 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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Snazzy,
You mentioned doing a recording of the AG. Was it a microphone recording or a line out recording? Do you have any examples you feel comfortable posting?

#1329591 - 12/20/09 03:35 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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I really like the N2. For some reason, since the N2 is an upright, psychologically, I expected the way an upright would sound, and the N2 more than delivers. I don't mean piano tone, but the way sound travels and come out of an upright piano. The N3 doesn't quite recreate an acoustic grand piano feeling but the N2 does recreate the feeling of an acoustic upright. Of course, it's still has the grand piano action, which upright do not have, so that's a bonus.

My only problem with the N2 is the lack of special pedals used for the N3 and its price of $10,000. For that price I would get the U1-Silent instead. Had it been $6,500 to $7,000 I would be very seriously saving up for one.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#1329625 - 12/20/09 05:30 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: 4evrBeginR]  
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I'm not interested in posting examples, but the recording we did was done on the Avant Grand's internal recorder. It only holds one song.

Any audio recording is not going to let you "feel" what the piano sends back to the player, which, in my opinion, is one of the piano's major features.

As I said earlier, it is not for the purists...only real grands, harpsichords/pipe organs/vinyl records will satisfy those people.

This is for people who want the soul of a grand, with the practicality of a digital piano.

Also, we all must remember, this piano, and the N2 are only the beginning of a series, so there are more choices to come.

I did not like the "look" of the N2...I found it rather awkward looking. I haven't played one, and Zeke is not bringing any in...he's sold four Avant Grands since I bought mine. Pictures do not do the N3 justice.

So far, everyone that has tried it, including one hard-core purist, has been very impressed.

It's got a 12 speaker 500 watt that has 12 separate audio channels.

The only way anyone can understand why it's so formidable is to actually sit down and play it.

Videos, and/or audio recordings aren't going to tell the whole story.

I've played Pianoteq, and Ivory, and they don't sound as good, in my opinion. They sound artificial, even more so than the V-Piano. Software pianos still have a long way to go, and none replicate the "experience" of the Avant Grand in either sound or tactile feedback, again, in my opinion.

I'm starting to sound like a darn salesman, but it's more enthusiasm than any attempt at selling this instrument to anybody. Not everyone can afford it, for one thing, and I really only have to please me, and I ain't usually easily pleased.

Snazzy




Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1329657 - 12/20/09 08:08 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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Originally Posted by snazzyplayer
Blindfolded, and seated in front of the Avant Grand, he proceeded to play, nodding his head knowingly, and saying that this was definitely a "new" piano (I had bought my Steinway B secondhand).

It was after about 15 minutes that he said, "This is a digital, isn't it?".

He could detect the slight lack of overtones and string resonance (he's got a great ear) but, for the first time after playing a "digital", he said, "This is the most impressive piece of work I have ever played."

He also commented that the action was the best he's ever played, acoustic or not.
.
It was even funnier when we played back his performance in Wav. That sounded scary...it was like a perfect recording of a piano in a pristine studio environment.

I think it sounds better than my Steinway B, which was the envy of the neighborhood, and now resides in Zeke's studio, for those who want to play a "real" piano.

Lowell, our friend who tried the AG blindfolded, thinks otherwise, but, I have never seen his gast so flabbered.

I just think, this is exactly what dewster is looking for to his wife's pupils. And you've given him enough fire wood to be able to convince his wife's pupils' parents.

When they stand in the shop, desperately clinging to that precious P-85, a few words of wisdom will turn the table. They will leave the shop with a happy child and an N3.


P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.
#1329669 - 12/20/09 09:20 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: Huygens]  
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Originally Posted by Huygens

I just think, this is exactly what dewster is looking for to his wife's pupils. And you've given him enough fire wood to be able to convince his wife's pupils' parents.
When they stand in the shop, desperately clinging to that precious P-85, a few words of wisdom will turn the table. They will leave the shop with a happy child and an N3.


Well, shucks, Huygens, if anyone could convince their parents to buy them an N3, it would be the dewster.

He's a silver-tongued devil if there ever was one. He'd be as smooth as a teenager justifying a questionable relationship. wink

If I were you, I'd stay clear of him, or you might just be another one of his victims....'course, gettin' an Avant Grand for Christmas surely would make even you happy, even though I'm willing to wager you'd still want to keep your precious P-85. wink

They sure are easy to get attached to, ain't they? wink

Snazzy



Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1329711 - 12/20/09 11:48 AM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: Huygens]  
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Earth
Originally Posted by Huygens


I just think, this is exactly what dewster is looking for to his wife's pupils. And you've given him enough fire wood to be able to convince his wife's pupils' parents.


[Linked Image]


Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1329734 - 12/20/09 12:33 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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Posts: 546
OldFingers Offline
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OldFingers  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 546
Boston, MA
Originally Posted by snazzyplayer
[Linked Image]

Snazzy, I don't know whose funnier, you or Dewster, but I'm now reading these AG posts for my laugh of the day.

Last edited by OldFingers; 12/20/09 12:34 PM.

Aspiring Retirement Home Lounge Pianist
#1329743 - 12/20/09 12:44 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: OldFingers]  
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snazzyplayer Offline
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snazzyplayer  Offline
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Posts: 983
Earth
Originally Posted by OldFingers


Snazzy, I don't know whose funnier, you or Dewster, but I'm now reading these AG posts for my laugh of the day.


The Dewster is much funnier than me, but he starts drinkin' earlier in the day.[Linked Image]

That head-start makes all the difference. [Linked Image]

Snazzy

PS. The above statements are meant purely in jest, but I still think he's funnier than me 'cause he's still married, and a good sense of humor goes a long way in keepin' one's sanity. wink



Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
#1333246 - 12/24/09 06:50 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: snazzyplayer]  
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sullivang Online blank
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sullivang  Online Blank
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Joined: Jul 2009
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Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted by snazzyplayer


The only way anyone can understand why it's so formidable is to actually sit down and play it.

Videos, and/or audio recordings aren't going to tell the whole story.


This video has four highly experienced pianists doing exactly that - sitting down and playing it! smile Of course we have to play it ourselves to appreciate it, but seeing and hearing these pros experiencing it for themselves is also extremely educational, and their opinions should be given a lot of credence, I would have thought.

What a great video, though, eh? I really enjoyed it!!

Greg.


Middle-aged Jeremy Clarkson acolyte.
#1333519 - 12/25/09 12:19 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: sullivang]  
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musico Offline
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musico  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 27
Hey Snazzy,

Why did you sell your Steinway B and got a digital grand instead? Was it the tuning issue, maintenance or some reason?

Just curious!


#1333606 - 12/25/09 02:54 PM Re: AvantGrand: new video reviews [Re: musico]  
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snazzyplayer Offline
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snazzyplayer  Offline
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Earth
Hey, musico,

I liked the Steinway B...the reasons I stopped using it were pretty much as you stated...tuning and maintenance.

The Steinway was from the 50's and left to me by an uncle...it's in a friend's studio right now. It's a good piano, and in fine shape, but I'm leaning more towards maintenance free....some people would say I'm just lazy, and I'd be inclined to agree with them.

I had a Yamaha CP-80M Electric Grand (with MIDI) for some time as well, but again, tuning was my main reason for selling it, plus the bass strings were way too short for any decent bottom end.

The Avant Grand also has MIDI, and other sounds like two excellent electric pianos.

I couldn't stand hearing a piano slowly go out of tune with itself and everything else...I don't think I've got perfect pitch, but I've developed a good sense of pitch over the 40 some years of playing professional, and out-of-tuneness, even the tiniest bit, would literally make me nauseous.

I'm happier than I ever thought I could be with the Avant Grand...acoustic piano feel and feedback, but with digital exactness and convenience.

Did you get to try one yet?

Snazzy


Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
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