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Avant Grand N2 vs N3 #1389193
03/05/10 08:48 PM
03/05/10 08:48 PM
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lechuan Offline OP
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Hello All,

I currently looking at getting a Yamaha Avant Grand, but cannot decide between the N2 and N3. The main differences seems to be the better speaker/amplification system and the grand-action pedals. Not sure if those things justify the $5000 price difference between the two. I haven't yet had a chance to try both at the same time in order to make a direct comparison.

For those who have more experience with the N2 AND N3, what was your impression of the quality/feel/expression between the two? Do you think the N3 is worth spending the extra $$$ over the N2?

Plans for the piano are primarily for practice in an apartment, headphones 50% of the time, and as a secondary piano for teaching.

Thanks!

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Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: lechuan] #1389361
03/06/10 02:16 AM
03/06/10 02:16 AM
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Volusiano Offline
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Hi Lechuan, welcome to the forum. I own an N3, but I bought it 7 months ago when the N2 hasn't come out yet (although I knew about the N2 at the time). If I were in your described situation (apartment, headphones 50%, for practice and teaching only), I would pick an N2 over an N3 for the money saving. The N3 is supposed to sound better than the N2 (on speakers, but same on headphones), but if you can't take advantage of the better speaker/amp system more than half the time, it'd be kind of wasted.

For people who have the room and want the look of a grand and not an upright in their home, and who want the best sound system they can get and want to use it for performance with guests or whatnot, they'd have to pay the premium for the N3. But as a practice and teaching instrument, the N2 is more than adequate, and I'm sure the sound system, while not as good as the N3, should still be very good. There's nothing apologetic about the N2 sound system having 12 speakers/12 amplifiers.

The keyboard action is the same, the sampled sound is the same (4 channels). Even though the N2 doesn't have the grand-style pedal lyre like the N3, the functionality and feel of the 3 N2 pedals is the same as the N3. Both have the Tactile Response System (TRS) for vibration feel on the keyboard, which is uses 2x80W transducers.

The N2 does not have the 2 extra 22W transducers for the soundboard resonators like the N3 has.

As for the bass speakers, the N3 uses 4x16cm driven by 4x30W amp, while the N2 uses 2x16cm driven by 2x22W amps. There are 4x13cm mid speakers driven by 4x22W amps in the N3, while the N2 has 3x13cm and 1x8cm mid driven by 4x22W amps. Same amount of tweeter speakers on both, 4x2.5cm driven by 4x22W amps. Also, obviously the 4-channel speaker horizontal layout on the N3 matches better to where the sampled sound sources come from, and therefore it makes better use of the spatial acoustic effect than the N2.

The N3 is 438 lbs and the N2 is 313 lbs.

While the N3 is $5K more than the N2 list price wise, the cost difference should be less than $5K because you're not going to pay list price in the first place.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1389404
03/06/10 04:05 AM
03/06/10 04:05 AM
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theJourney Offline
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This is interesting information.
I recently played a N2 in a shop and was very impressed with the real action and with the authentic sounding volume.
Unfortunately I did not have my headphones with me to test out what I would hear on headphones.
How much of the realism of the Avantgrand sound is dependent on this "4 channel" audio design and does that mean that the sound is more like a conventional Clavinova when one is listening through conventional headphones without the benefit of all the speakers and transducers?

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: theJourney] #1389428
03/06/10 05:36 AM
03/06/10 05:36 AM
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Volusiano Offline
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Originally Posted by theJourney
This is interesting information.
I recently played a N2 in a shop and was very impressed with the real action and with the authentic sounding volume.
Unfortunately I did not have my headphones with me to test out what I would hear on headphones.
How much of the realism of the Avantgrand sound is dependent on this "4 channel" audio design and does that mean that the sound is more like a conventional Clavinova when one is listening through conventional headphones without the benefit of all the speakers and transducers?

TheJourney, I use the headphones a lot on my N3, too, because I tend to play late at night when the family is sleeping. I don't know how it compares to the Clavinova sound on the headphones, but to me, it's pretty darn good.

You raised an interesting question, though. I'm just as curious to know myself. I remember a recent thread (click here for link) where another forum member (Dave Ferris) posted this comparison:
Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
I was just able to A-B the newer Avant Grand and the GT7 at a piano store with my AKG 240 headphones. Before the A-Bing, I had thought the AG sample was perhaps just incrementally superior to the Gran Touch but in my comparison I found much greater detail, refinement and an overall more organic, pleasing quality to the AG sample.

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Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1389580
03/06/10 10:48 AM
03/06/10 10:48 AM
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dewster Offline
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Anyone feel like donating a DPBSD MP3 of the N3? I'd run it by you privately to discuss / debate the results before I posted it.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: dewster] #1389744
03/06/10 02:43 PM
03/06/10 02:43 PM
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Volusiano Offline
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Originally Posted by dewster
Anyone feel like donating a DPBSD MP3 of the N3? I'd run it by you privately to discuss / debate the results before I posted it.


Dewster, I don't mind doing this, as I'm curious to see the results myself. I can probably put the midi files into a USB stick and try to drive my N3, but I don't have a set up to record mp3 files from the N3. I suppose I can hook it up to my laptop's mic input or something. Can you PM me with some recording suggestion? Thanks.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1389767
03/06/10 03:02 PM
03/06/10 03:02 PM
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EssBrace Offline
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I would bet that the sample on the N2/N3 is like a high-end Clavinova. The thing that sets it apart is the tactile sensations it creates. And these are defeated by use of headphones. If quiet/night time practice forms an important part of the piano's use you would probably have to conclude that the Avant Grands might not be the right choice.

Steve


Roland RD-1000 | Kawai CS11 | Dexibell Vivo P7 | Korg G1 Air |
Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: EssBrace] #1389791
03/06/10 03:23 PM
03/06/10 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
I would bet that the sample on the N2/N3 is like a high-end Clavinova. The thing that sets it apart is the tactile sensations it creates. And these are defeated by use of headphones. If quiet/night time practice forms an important part of the piano's use you would probably have to conclude that the Avant Grands might not be the right choice.

Steve

I wouldn't be surprised either that through the headphones they may not sound too much different. But I think what sets it apart is just not the tactile response system for the vibration feel, but more importantly the fact that the sound on the N3 is 4 channel sample instead of just stereo sample. This in addition to how the 4-channel speakers are strategically laid-out horizontally, matching the positions of where the 4 sampling mics are located on the acoustic grand, helps create the spatial acoustic realism to the sound similarly to where it would emanate from an acoustic. But then 4 channel reduced to stereo for the headphones no longer has any of those advantages.

I agree that it's not optimal to buy an N3 if silent practice is the main use, but if the true grand keyboard action is required in addition to headphone use, the N2 still offers this same grand action but at a better value than the N3 (due to a lower price), so a better choice.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1389808
03/06/10 03:57 PM
03/06/10 03:57 PM
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ChrisA Offline
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The N3 when playing over it's internal speakers uses four channels of samples. Obviously it can't play backs it's four channels into headphones of into Line Out for audio recording. So you will never be able to get a true recording on what a live N3 sounds like. But for the purposes of the DBSD test we will be able to see note stretching and loops and so on. I assume it plays only two of the four channels into line out either that or it combines four into two but I doubt that as they'd have problems with phase.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: ChrisA] #1389836
03/06/10 05:11 PM
03/06/10 05:11 PM
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EssBrace Offline
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Well I do use headphones a lot and I couldn't really accommodate an N3. I wouldn't turn my nose up at an N2 though...I personally like the look of both of them very much. I had a GranTouch GT2 with the same action and it was a very nice action, as you would expect. Sound was good for its day but nothing special. I remember Yamaha made a big deal of its 30mb of sample ROM when the original GranTouch was launched!

Steve


Roland RD-1000 | Kawai CS11 | Dexibell Vivo P7 | Korg G1 Air |
Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1389838
03/06/10 05:12 PM
03/06/10 05:12 PM
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Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: EssBrace] #1391645
03/08/10 09:00 PM
03/08/10 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
I would bet that the sample on the N2/N3 is like a high-end Clavinova.Steve


Steve, I was able to get an MP3 file of the N3 out to Dewster to analyze. He just posted the results on this thread "DP BSD Project". You may want to check it out if you're curious. It looks like the N3 fares better than the CLP-330 that Dewster has analyzed, which is good to know.

I think because the N3 sound is a 4 channel setup which has not been done before, Yamaha couldn't really reuse the stereo sample they had on the Clavinova line to build upon it anyway. So while they were redoing the sample from scratch for 4 channels, they probably figured they should do a better job sampling this time around. Just a guess...

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1398789
03/18/10 05:19 PM
03/18/10 05:19 PM
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lechuan Offline OP
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Thanks all for your feedback! I have not yet had a chance to do a direct comparison (probably won't for a while once I actually realistically looked at my budget and realized that $15K is out of my range!). Will stick with my CLP-970 for now.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1399463
03/19/10 06:21 PM
03/19/10 06:21 PM
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4evrBeginR Offline
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Originally Posted by Volusiano

Even though the N2 doesn't have the grand-style pedal lyre like the N3, the functionality and feel of the 3 N2 pedals is the same as the N3.


Actually, the N2 does not have the special pedal system of the N3 that provides the non-linear resistive feel of grand piano dampers.



Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: 4evrBeginR] #1399558
03/19/10 08:30 PM
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Volusiano Offline
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Originally Posted by 4evr88
Originally Posted by Volusiano

Even though the N2 doesn't have the grand-style pedal lyre like the N3, the functionality and feel of the 3 N2 pedals is the same as the N3.

Actually, the N2 does not have the special pedal system of the N3 that provides the non-linear resistive feel of grand piano dampers

Really? Can you share how you come to know of this exactly?

In the N3/N2 manual, the spec for their pedal section is exactly the same. There's nothing in the operation part of the manual that says they're different either. And on the Avant-Grand.com website, it does not differentiate N3 or N2 when it talks about the pedal pressure gradient, which implies that it's the same for both.

I would find it hard to believe that Yamaha would bother to come up with 2 different pedal designs for this, as it would just cost them more money to do 2 different pedal designs, and just to cripple the N2's capability on purpose. It'd make no sense because it would give the N2 less than the complete authentic feel Yamaha is striving for on the AG line.

I would really love to know the source of your knowledge on your claim to see how true it is. I don't believe your claim at this point.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1400008
03/20/10 01:57 PM
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I just played the N2 and N3. They were great!

My space is constrained and I started to look at keyboards for my apartment. I bought a CP1. While it has excellent sound, the action was not what I was expecting for classical playing. I returned it and thought maybe a V-piano. I tried one yesterday and I liked the action slightly better than the CP1. However, I think I will be dissapointed in that as well.

I've decided to get an N2. I think it will be best for my practice. I will use headphones about half the time as well. I did prefer the sound on the N3 better but I don't have space for it. The only thing I will miss from the other keyboards is the tweaking of the hammer hardness etc. I guess I could always hook it up to some computer software down the road if I like. The priority for me at the moment is the action so that I can practice effectively.

Re the last post. The pedals are different in each model. to be honest I didn't notice the sensation in the N3 while playing.




Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: coz] #1400063
03/20/10 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by coz
I just played the N2 and N3. They were great!

Re the last post. The pedals are different in each model. to be honest I didn't notice the sensation in the N3 while playing.

When you said the pedals are different in each model, do you mean they look different or do they actual feel different? I know it's obvious they look different because the N3 is a grand-style pedal lyre, while the N2 is the upright-style design without the lyre. But I'd have a hard time believing that they would "feel" any different from each other.

If they actually "feel" different from each other, which do you think is superior? Technically, if the claim by 4ever88 were right, the N3's pedal is supposed to be superior. But I assume that you wouldn't have wanted to buy the N2 if you had felt that its pedal were inferior to the N3.

And when you said you didn't notice the sensation in the N3, do you mean the pedal pressure gradient? I think that is something very subtle, and if you usually just pedal it on and off (like I do), it wouldn't matter and you wouldn't feel much different anyway. It's only people who usually feather-play their pedal very delicately with varying degrees of pressure who may recognize the subtle difference of having this pedal pressure gradient.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1400077
03/20/10 03:36 PM
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I've read that the N3's tactile response system includes the pedals but that the N2 it does not. I didn't notice any difference between the two in that sense. The pressure gradient felt the same to me.

The brochure vaguely points out that the N3 pedal system is superior as well. I think they both support half pedaling and I didn't notice a difference.

I do like the N3 better in terms of sound and looks. However I don't have room for it. 5k better I'm not so sure. They both are exceptional!

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1400380
03/21/10 12:42 AM
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Proof? You're kidding me. I'm not a teenager. Please do your own homework. Stating I don't believe you explicitly is not good manners.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: 4evrBeginR] #1400438
03/21/10 03:56 AM
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Volusiano Offline
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Originally Posted by 4evr88
Proof? You're kidding me. I'm not a teenager. Please do your own homework. Stating I don't believe you explicitly is not good manners.

Not sure why you get all offended? So am I supposed to believe anything a stranger says without challenging their claim if I don't believe it?

Obviously you challenged what I said about the 2 models' pedals functioning the same. Doesn't that mean you're also stating explicitly that you don't believe me, too? Hence not good manners on your part, too?

I think I've done my own homework. I've owned an N3 for 7 months now. I bought the very first one available in my state. I have the manual that covers both N3 & N2. I've been to the www.avant-grand.com website that talks about both. I never saw any mention of the pedals being different, like I said.

But I admit that I'm just guessing that the pedals are the same. And I'll also admit that I never had a chance to play an N2 so far. Although I still find it hard to believe that they'd be different, maybe there's some new brochure or something that I haven't seen that confirms that they're different. If that's the case, just tell me the source you got this from and I'll believe you. I'm not asking for "proof" so much as I want to know where the source of this information comes from so I'm better informed.

And some clarification on what the difference is. Is it the pedal gradient pressure? Or is it the TRS feed to the pedal? Or both?

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1400440
03/21/10 04:07 AM
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Volusiano can be touchy about his Avant Grand! laugh

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: theJourney] #1400442
03/21/10 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by theJourney
Volusiano can be touchy about his Avant Grand! laugh

Heck, I'm not even defending my N3 here. I'm actually defending the N2, which is not even the model I own! grin

As much as I'd like to hear that the N3 is "one" more thing better to justify the higher price I'd paid for it over the N2, I think it'd be so dumb if Yamaha intentionally crippled some capability on the N2 pedal just so they can have more differentiation instead of simply for cost savings.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1400445
03/21/10 04:28 AM
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Well, it certainly would not be the first time that Yamaha crippled some capability on a lesser instrument just to try to force people to fork over more money for the higher model. They don't consider doing so dumb, but rather smart... Just look at the way the Clavinova line has been dumbed down from the 9xx to the 2xx series and then again from the 2xx to the 3xx series.

If anyone is dumb it is consumers who keep paying Yamaha to play this game against our interests.

That is why I personally would prefer to support any other manufacturer than Yamaha that is actually willing to innovate and make those innovations available at a reasonable price to us consumers to break the consumer-unfriendly hegemony of the Yamaha corporation and their mighty marketing machines. Roland's VPiano and Super Realistic sound, Kawai's RM3 keyboard, Pianoteq's efficient PC model are all products that consumers should support if for no other reason than to force Yamaha to stop treating us like we are dumb.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: theJourney] #1400633
03/21/10 02:20 PM
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The public votes with its purchase dollars. they are not dumb and neither is Yamaha. The Clavinova is the singularly most successful line of digital pianos in history (they invented the catagory). The N3/N2 is the most inovative product catagory in the last ten years, IMHO. What makes these products so successful is that Yamaha packages the touch, tone, and features consumers most want at a variety of price points. It is the package folks buy, not one feature alone.

Yes, there are stage and pro equipment that do certain aspect better, but that is not what the general home use buyer is after. Yes, there are deeper and wider PC models and samples, but again, that is not what the DP shopper is after.

You want to chock up the Clavinova successful history to smoke, mirrors, and marketing gimickery. More consumers think they just make better sounding, playing products.


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Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1401056
03/22/10 01:29 AM
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The Yamaha AvantGrand brochure, found here --

http://www.yamaha.com/catalogs/PDFs/brochures/pianos/acoustic_pianos/AvantGrand2009_Brochure.pdf

-- indicates that the N3 sustain pedal is more sophisticated than the N2 pedal (see spec sheet and text, generally). How, exactly, the N3 pedal differs from the N2 pedal isn't entirely clear. (As the N3 pedal is depressed, resistance isn't linear, according to the brochure. Aside from that distinction, differences between the N3 and N2 pedals aren't spelled out.)

I recently purchased an N2, and the pedal on that piano is plenty sophisticated for a digital instrument. The instrument has partial pedaling. It also allows a recently-damped note to be sustained by depressing the damper pedal after the key has been released. (E.g., strike a chord; release; catch the damped, rapidly-decaying sound with the sustain pedal -- like an acoustic.)

Other subtle effects (not pedal related, but certainly related to dampers) on the N2 include sympathetic resonance from a single key that has been silently depressed in order to release the damper without actually playing the note first. (E.g., silently depress C3 then hit E3 staccato; C3 resonates sympathetically, with the E3 pitch -- like an acoustic.)

I upgraded from a CLP-380 to an N2, and it was well worth it, I think. The action is much much better; it's the real deal. In particular, the N2 allows for very realistic pianissimo. With the NW action in the 380, I was having a devil of a time playing quiet blocked chords precisely in unison (the type of chords found in much of Debussy, for example, and Brahms, Chopin -- classical literature, generally, I guess). The N2, by contrast, plays like an acoustic grand. It is far easier to voice chords (e.g., the hymn-like passage of Brahms Op. 118, No. 2). Also, the samples on the N2 are superior. Even the tuning is better. Some of the unisons on the 380 weren't as clean as they could be when listened to with high quality headphones (Sennheiser HD 580 or HD 600) (try, for example, pp on 2 d-flats above middle c -- i.e., the first note of La fille avec cheveux de lin -- is THAT the fifth velocity layer? Yuck.). The N2 is much better, using the same Sennheiser headphones.

And, yes, the tactile response works when using headphones. Interestingly (and pretty cool, too), when TRS is on, the instrument quietly emits the music you are playing in order to vibrate the keys (i.e., the vibrations are in tune). Thus, the piano is not entirely silent when TRS is on while using headphones, but it's pretty darn quiet, and if anyone in the house doesn't care to hear even that quiet sound, you can shut off TRS. (And, yes, I realize that Sennheiser HD 580s and 600s use an open design and leak lots of sound. Believe me, it really is the tactile response system that's generating the sound.)


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: kippesc] #1401086
03/22/10 03:01 AM
03/22/10 03:01 AM
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Volusiano Offline
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Thanks Kippesc for pointing out where to find the Yamaha brochure. It does look like there is clarification in there that the pedal pressure gradient is in the N3 only, although it looks like the TRS feed to the pedal exists in both models. So I stand corrected and take back what I said about the pedals being the same in both models.

I agree, though, that the pedal pressure gradient is probably something more appreciated by very discerning players who are used to feathering their pedals in an acoustic. To most other people, full pedaling and half pedaling is probably more than adequate. It is to me.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: Volusiano] #1401136
03/22/10 07:49 AM
03/22/10 07:49 AM
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coz Offline
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I bought an N2 yesterday! I'm very excited!

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: coz] #1401141
03/22/10 08:01 AM
03/22/10 08:01 AM
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theJourney Offline
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Congratulations. That is one helluva keyboard! We are all a little bit jealous, I can assure you.

Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: coz] #1401393
03/22/10 03:20 PM
03/22/10 03:20 PM
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4evrBeginR Offline
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Congrats. I'm also awaiting the delivery of my Avant Grand. 48 hours is a long time to wait for this thing....


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
Re: Avant Grand N2 vs N3 [Re: 4evrBeginR] #1401437
03/22/10 04:19 PM
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coz Offline
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Thanks same to you. I have to wait a week which is torture.

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