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Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 #1815935
12/31/11 02:02 PM
12/31/11 02:02 PM
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jivemutha Offline OP
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What are the differences are between Yamaha's YUS3 and YUS5 52-inch uprights that would affect the SOUND? I know about the other stuff, (e.g. sustenuto pedal, music desk, front openings on the YUS5, caster wheels, appearance, etc.), but I'm only interested in what might differentiate the SOUND of these two uprights.

I'm in America. I've noted that occasionally well informed Yamaha people from Merry Olde England will provide accurate and detailed info about such things, only to later discover that Yamaha has outfitted U-series uprights in the U.S. ever-so-slightly differently than what they send to the U.K. Therefore, I'm hoping that whoever answers this question is either in the U.S. or is very familiar with the details of what Yamaha specifically sends here.

Besides technical differences, while I know it's totally subjective, if anyone has played both and would like to weigh in regarding any differences or lack thereof in tone, I'm all ears! Thanks in advance for a reply!

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Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1816149
12/31/11 08:29 PM
12/31/11 08:29 PM
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The ivorite keys are used in YUS5, not in YUS3. It makes a big difference. Therefore, the feel is like an expensive Yamaha grand (C3 and up).

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1816159
12/31/11 08:49 PM
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I knew about the ivorite keyboard, but that wouldn't affect the sound.

Since I posted the question, I called a big Yamaha dealer in a major U.S. city and spoke with what felt like a knowledgeable salesman. Here's what he said:

The big difference soundwise is between a U3 and a YUS3--much less so between the YUS3 and the YUS5. Also, the bigger cost difference is between the U3 and the YUS3 (with the YUS3 costing about $3,000 more than a regular U3). This is different from the numbers in Larry Fine's book. The differences between a YUS3 and a YUS5 are less about tone then about the better music desk, better casters, the ivorite keys mention above, the better flow of sound out of the box due to the openings along side the music desk, the sustenuto pedal, etc. On the other hand, he told me in his dealership the difference in cost between a YUS3 and a YUS5 was only about $1,000. He doesn't stock YUS3s because, he says, anyone going that far up generally pays the small difference for the upgrade from YUS3 to YUS5.

As you may know, similar differences exists between the U1 and YUS1 as between the U3 and YUS3. The salesman is a player and his own piano is a YUS1--not a bigger U3, which he could have gotten for essentially the same money. Given that an ordinary U3 sounds way better than an ordinary U1 (to all but those tuners who seem to favor the U1), I found this piece of information surprising and very intriguing. He said the fancy hammers and German strings (apparently found in both YUS3 and YUS5) and the more intense voicing, etc., give the YUS pianos a cleaner and noticeably better sound than the standard U series uprights. I can't wait to give 'em a try!

Can anyone out there confirm or deny what the salesman told me?

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1816179
12/31/11 09:46 PM
12/31/11 09:46 PM
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Can't deny or confirm anything, but the YUS5 is a darm nice piano. I haven't played the YUS3, but looking at the 2011 Yamaha brochure, it looks like the features between the YUS3 and YUS5 are very similar, except for the features in the cabinet and a few others. The YUS series has different felt, supposedly the same felt found in the CF series of premium grands.

Good luck.

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: PassingBy] #1816196
12/31/11 10:19 PM
12/31/11 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Rotom
Can't deny or confirm anything, but the YUS5 is a darm nice piano... The YUS series has different felt, supposedly the same felt found in the CF series of premium grands.


Assuming you've played a regular U3, does that mean that you hear a significant difference favoring the YUS over the regular U3?

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1816249
01/01/12 12:46 AM
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I have played a U3. The U3 is a fine piano. I wouldn't call the difference in sound significalt, but it (EDIT: referring to the YUS5) is more present, and somewhat more powerful. The sound was a bit mellower though. The keys on the YUS5 are nice, as jivemutha said. You have to decide (and of course play) these pianos to see how different they are. Keep us updated!

Last edited by Rotom; 01/01/12 12:47 AM. Reason: Correcting ambiguity
Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: PassingBy] #1816265
01/01/12 01:58 AM
01/01/12 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Rotom
I have played a U3. The U3 is a fine piano. I wouldn't call the difference in sound significalt, but it (EDIT: referring to the YUS5) is more present, and somewhat more powerful. The sound was a bit mellower though. The keys on the YUS5 are nice, as jivemutha said. You have to decide (and of course play) these pianos to see how different they are. Keep us updated!


OK--I expect to go through L.A. in less than 4 weeks. At that time, one of the dealers typically has both a U3 and a YUS5 (though never a YUS3) to play. I haven't mention it in this thread, but I need a Silent Piano (for an apartment building now turned into condos), so what I'm really considering is a YUS5SG versus and U3SG. That said, the acoustic components of these 2 Silent Pianos should be identical to the 2 pianos we've been discussing here: the U3 and the YUS5.

I'll let y'all know which way I go. (Silent Pianos are generally special order items, so I won't get a chance to play on those in L.A., though sometimes this big L.A. dealer has a U1SG on the floor.)

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1816414
01/01/12 12:14 PM
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We just had a YUS5 come through our store, I'd go so far as to say, it's the nicest upright I've ever played.... nice touch, feel, sound.... it's a really nice piano.


Les Koltvedt
Servicing the Greater Atlanta Area.
www.well-lovedpiano.com/atlanta-piano-technicians/
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Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: Les Koltvedt] #1816465
01/01/12 01:58 PM
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There is a presentation of the YUS series on Yammha's Official Channel, more particularly the YUS5 is demonstrated.

When I once put up this link over a year ago some did not find the sound spectacular.
Still I personally find it a very good sounding upright:

YUS Series - demo YUS5

schwammerl.

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: Les Koltvedt] #1816493
01/01/12 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Les Koltvedt
We just had a YUS5 come through our store, I'd go so far as to say, it's the nicest upright I've ever played.


Agreed--almost everyone likes it. But SOUNDwise, does it differ significantly from a U3, and if so, what can you say about that difference?

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: schwammerl] #1816497
01/01/12 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by schwammerl
There is a presentation of the YUS series on Yammha's Official Channel, more particularly the YUS5 is demonstrated.YUS Series - demo YUS5


I saw this demonstration some time ago and if I remember right, I found it related to most other Yamaha promotional materials, which is to say frustrating. Rather than help the potential buyer understand what separates one model from the next, they typically make it very difficult to get a sense of these issues so critical to making a final purchasing decision.

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1826904
01/18/12 05:06 AM
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So what exactly would be the specific difference between a U3 and the YUS3 or YUS5? What about price difference between a U3 and YUS3/ YUS5? I am in NY and I am getting a quote of $9750 for a U3. This YUS5 has raised my curiosity

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1826958
01/18/12 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jivemutha
I haven't mention it in this thread, but I need a Silent Piano (for an apartment building now turned into condos), so what I'm really considering is a YUS5SG versus and U3SG. That said, the acoustic components of these 2 Silent Pianos should be identical to the 2 pianos we've been discussing here: the U3 and the YUS5.


Might not this silent feature affect the sound more than you are expecting?
Without going back and rereading, have you played a piano WITH and WITHOUT this feature side by side?



"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: Rafterman] #1826978
01/18/12 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Rafterman
So what exactly would be the specific difference between a U3 and the YUS3 or YUS5? What about price difference between a U3 and YUS3/ YUS5? I am in NY and I am getting a quote of $9750 for a U3. This YUS5 has raised my curiosity


The differences between these pianos have been stated in this thread, but to review . . .

Compared with a U3, the YUS3 has the same hammers as the skillion-dollar 9-foot Yamaha grand and it also uses German strings--not the standard Japanese strings. (Hammers--OK, that could be a big deal. Different strings? I question how much of a difference that could make).

Also, the YUS3 has more time put into voicing and regulation, and the people doing it all have black belts in piano technology. This may sound like hype, but knowledgeable people on this website keep talking about how really good prep work can make a huge difference, so for me the jury is out regarding this particular difference.

The YUS5 has all those YUS3 features mentioned in the above 2 paragraphs, plus the Luxury Package (moon roof, heated seats, etc.) and the Sport Package (bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, etc.) Specifically, those differences favoring the YUS5 over YUS3 are:

Vastly better music desk--not a deal clincher but very nice!

Better caster wheels--No biggy.

A sustenuto pedal instead of the quiet pedal--actually, the website implies that in the silent version of the YUS5, this benefit would be lost and is replaced by the frustrating quiet pedal, which (if you've had a U-series upright you know rarely quiets all 88 keys and makes the piano sound awful).

"Ivorite keys"--a fair number of folks who've played a Yammy with these keys say nice things: "looks great," "actually feels better to play because the surfaces aren't as slippery," etc.

A different case design--Europeans seem to favor the sleek appearance of the cheaper U3/YUS3 over the YUS5. Americans don't seem to tip strongly either way. Unlike with the YUS3 (which looks just like a U3), the YUS5 looks quite "different" but maybe neither better or worse, at least for the eyes of us Yanks. That said, however, the different box design MIGHT be a big deal. Several people have claimed the YUS5 "sounds" better than the YUS3. On paper, that's impossible, as they have indentical specs. However, the YUS5 box design allows sound to directly leave the upper panel, giving the player a more direct contact with the sound--a bit more like a grand. Maybe THIS is why people say it sounds better than the YUS3. Respected UK dealer Will Venables suspects the better tone might come from the slightly greater mass of YUS5. Nobody really knows. Everyone says the YUS5 sounds better. It doesn't make a lot of sense to anyone.

As to price, what you've been quoted for an ordinary U3 is a good out-the-door price. A YUS5 without the silent system typically runs over $4K more. The YUS3 is in between, apparently closer to the YUS5 than the YUS3.

Larry Fine reminds us that the better the quality, the worse the value. While I need to play these instruments more (in just a couple of weeks in L.A.), everyone says the YUS5 sounds the best. That said, I doubt that the YUS5 produces as good a dollar value as a U3. Larry Fine's right.

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: lilylady] #1826999
01/18/12 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by lilylady
Originally Posted by jivemutha
I haven't mention it in this thread, but I need a Silent Piano (for an apartment building now turned into condos), so what I'm really considering is a YUS5SG versus and U3SG. That said, the acoustic components of these 2 Silent Pianos should be identical to the 2 pianos we've been discussing here: the U3 and the YUS5.


Might not this silent feature affect the sound more than you are expecting?


No. We're not talking about the use of the middle "practice pedal" found in standard Yamaha uprights, which somewhat quiets the sound but completely destroys the quality of the sound. The "Silent Piano" is a totally different animal.

The acoustic sound of a silent YUS3 or YUS5 or a U3SG is identical to the sound of their normal counterparts. The acoustic sound is not in any way affected by the ability to turn on a digital piano while shutting off the strings.

There is, however, an unwanted difference between the silent versions of the U-series uprights and their standard counterparts. There's a slight distortion of the touch, even when played in the acoustic mode. I won't get to experience this for 2 more weeks (in L.A.).

Most, but not all, people who HAVE experienced this difference rate it as "trivial" or "not a problem." The silent versions of the Yammy grands, in contrast, do NOT have this slight distortion in feel. Instead, through some extensive technical wizardy, Yamaha has figured out a way to compensate for these changes to regulation. The result: the touch of the silent Yammy grands is identical to the touch of the standard Yamaha grands.

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1827591
01/19/12 01:39 AM
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Jivemutha I eagerly await your testimonials to the YUS5 auditions. I am going to go on some road trips on the East Coast to track some down myself. I am definetly in the market for one now.

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1827741
01/19/12 09:41 AM
01/19/12 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jivemutha

..........Larry Fine reminds us that the better the quality, the worse the value. While I need to play these instruments more (in just a couple of weeks in L.A.), everyone says the YUS5 sounds the best. That said, I doubt that the YUS5 produces as good a dollar value as a U3. Larry Fine's right.


Hi and in response to your opening post, greetings from 'Merry Olde England' grin

With great respect to Mr Fine, I would say he has a point if you were buying something with a comparatively short life span such as a car, or considering a very expensive grand piano, but not when buying a mid-price-range piano which will last you for generations.

We sell four times as many YUS5s as U3s.

As you are already considering the YUS5, I can imagine that if you buy the U3, each time you sit down to play, in the back of your mind you will be thinking, 'I wish I had those Ivorite keytops, the wooden sharps, the better strings, the better hammer heads, the more functional music desk, the heavier case.' The price premium, probably around $3,000, only just covers the upgraded componentcase cost.


Tech. & Partner: Venables Pianos
Yamaha Piano UK main dealer and Grand Piano Centre
Stocking new Yamaha, Petrof and Venables & Son
Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: ChrisVenables] #1827757
01/19/12 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisVenables
We sell four times as many YUS5s as U3s.

As you are already considering the YUS5, I can imagine that if you buy the U3, each time you sit down to play, in the back of your mind you will be thinking, 'I wish I had those Ivorite keytops, the wooden sharps, the better strings, the better hammer heads, the more functional music desk, the heavier case.' The price premium, probably around $3,000, only just covers the upgraded componentcase cost.


3 responses:
Regarding the fact that your YUS5s vastly outsell U3s--for a Yank to hear this is simply amazing! U3s are all over the place here, yet YUS5s seem uncommon. (Of course this issue can get clouded over by gray market U3s.) I'm really going to listen very hard for the differences when I get to L.A. This statement has me astounded (though I certainly believe you) and fascinated.

Regarding all the potential buyer's remorse with a U3(SG) versus a YUS5(SG), I admit the thought continues to plague me. You're reading my not-so-unconscious mind. If I may be so bold as to try to read Larry Fine's mind for a second, I don't think he's talking about the same value issues you are. I think he'd say here that the out-the-door cost of a new U3(SG) provides Yamaha and the dealer with a reasonable profit, but the difference in cost between a YUS5(SG) and a U3(SG) provides the factory with a vastly higher profit margin, if not the dealer. It's just like when BMW sells a 3-series car for $40K and it costs $38K to make, but getting a metalic paint job costs the buyer an additional $500 U.S. but cost BMW 5 dollars for the paint. It think THAT is what Larry Fine is talking about.

As to the price difference, it seems worse over here. My pre-price increase on the silent U3 (U3SG) is $13,400 U.S., considered an OK but not great price where I am. My post-6%-increase-in-Yamaha-prices cost of a YUS5SG is $18,700. If we blow up the $13,400 by the new 6% increase so we're talking apples and apples, the U3SG price should become $14,200. If so, then the $18,700 is a whopping $4,500 more than the U3SG, not the additional $3,000 in U.S. dollars that you would be tacking on to the sales price in Merry Olde England. This difference of course, might account for why you sell more YUS5s and dealers over here apparently do not.

Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: jivemutha] #1827846
01/19/12 01:04 PM
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jivemutha -

1. YUS5 is a newish model and has only been on the market for about 6 years, so there'll be at least a million more U3s in circulation.

2. Sorry if I didn't make my point about the flaw in Fine's diminishing value theory sufficiently clear. This isn't a BMW spray-job scenario. In this particular case, neither Yamaha nor the dealer are making vastly higher profit margins when they sell a YUS5 over a U3. Firstly, the dealer's profit may be slightly higher, but his percentage mark up remains the same. Secondly, several upgraded components and a different case/cabinet make up a substantial part of the premium as already detailed so much so that the pianos are made on different lines. Regarding component costs, for starters, ask a local dealer how much a set of Ivorite keytops would cost, (not fitted). They're pricey.

3. Sounds like YUS5 has got off to a slow start in the US, as has their Silent series. (In Japan, Yamaha Silent sales are in the majority, in the UK last year almost a third of new Yamahas sold were Silent). Regarding U3 v YUS sales, I wouldn't be surprised to see U3s being phased out completely as they have been in Japan.

Time to use your negotiating skills and good luck!



Tech. & Partner: Venables Pianos
Yamaha Piano UK main dealer and Grand Piano Centre
Stocking new Yamaha, Petrof and Venables & Son
Re: Differences between Yamaha YUS3 and YUS5 [Re: ChrisVenables] #1827902
01/19/12 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisVenables


1. YUS5 is a newish model and has only been on the market for about 6 years, so there'll be at least a million more U3s in circulation.

2. Sorry if I didn't make my point about the flaw in Fine's diminishing value theory sufficiently clear. This isn't a BMW spray-job scenario. In this particular case, neither Yamaha nor the dealer are making vastly higher profit margins when they sell a YUS5 over a U3. Firstly, the dealer's profit may be slightly higher, but his percentage mark up remains the same. Secondly, several upgraded components and a different case/cabinet make up a substantial part of the premium as already detailed so much so that the pianos are made on different lines. Regarding component costs, for starters, ask a local dealer how much a set of Ivorite keytops would cost, (not fitted). They're pricey.

3. Sounds like YUS5 has got off to a slow start in the US, as has their Silent series. (In Japan, Yamaha Silent sales are in the majority, in the UK last year almost a third of new Yamahas sold were Silent). Regarding U3 v YUS sales, I wouldn't be surprised to see U3s being phased out completely as they have been in Japan.


As to your first point above, the U5 that preceded the YUS5 here in America appears to be as uncommon here as the YUS5 has been. Thus, the fact that the introduction of the YUS is recent doesn't fully explain the puzzle of why sales favor YUS5 in the UK and U3 in the US. (I have no actual sales figures. I'm only going with my eyes.)

As to your 2nd point, I certainly believe you that your percent mark-up is not higher for the YUS. (That's why I limited my comment to Yamaha itself.) I find your comment reassuring. If they actually do put a bunch more into a YUS5, it would mean we consumers are perhaps not being taken for a ride. (BMW, in contrast, make almost nothing on the car and almost everything on stuff like charging $500 to get the back seat to fold down--something that comes standard on a bottom end Toyota.)

That said, it still seems a little hard to see how a YUS5 could cost Yamaha 40% more than the manufacture of a U3, no?

Your 3rd point is most interesting. Japan has very small living quarters and in the Tokyo area (which probably contains a third of the entire population of England), I can imagine that the demand for the Silent Piano would be very high--fitting with your comment.

If literally MOST Yamahas for the Japanese market are Silent Pianos, it's a little upsetting that Yamaha can't have one lousey piano to sell to an American in that silent configuration! Though silent U1s are occassionally encountered in big markets here, if we want to buy a 52" Silent Piano, we have to special order it (because it's such a low-volume seller), and then wait almost half a year while Yamaha decides to make one for us. Yes, I know, Yamahas designated for North America are made in a different humidity environment. But still, if they're making tons of these for folks in Yokohama, why can't they have one 'bloody' (as y'all would say) piano ready for shipment to us Yanks?? Yes. I know I'm impatient . . .

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