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Inside the AvantGrand N1 #1830311
01/23/12 03:26 PM
01/23/12 03:26 PM
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Gigantoad Offline OP
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On Wednesday I have a guy from a Yamaha certified repair center coming over to fix a little issue with a black key. It makes a woody noise when released, probably some damping material missing.

I will try to get some fotos of the inside. I'm posting this now to ask if anyone wants me to do additional stuff, maybe measure the key length or something?

Edit: Alright, here are all the images I could take.

As for measurements, since he ended up not needing to remove the whole action (merely changing the angle of one of those screws between the keys in the front fixed the noisy release sound of that one black key) I could only measure little, and not very accurately. Basically holing the tape measure in the air.

The length of the key, the whole thing from front to back, seems to be about 480 mm (about 18.9 inches), key depth measured at the front of white key was 26 mm (little more than an inch). Hope that helps a bit.

It wasn't too bad exposing the action. Basically unscrew the top row of screws on the back, then you can remove the top cover with the speakers (there is one cable to be unplugged first, seen in image 7). Then you have to remove the black thing in the middle as in image 12 and 13. Then remove the lid in the front which can be lifted out easily.

We talked about how much more work it would be to completely remove the action and we didn't think it'd be much more effort. In the last image there is one of the screws that would probably need to be loosened, and a couple more around the middle of the action which would need a long screw driver. Most likely the whole action could then be slided out.

He had a service manual describing everything. Asked him to email it to me, but sadly he's not allowed to do that. cool

The "guide pin" he offered to lube to lighten the action are those visible in picture 16 to 19 with the red felt material around them. After examining them we both concluded that it would probably not help much since there is very little friction there to begin with.

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4 (sensors)
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Last edited by Gigantoad; 01/25/12 03:27 PM.
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Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1830360
01/23/12 04:07 PM
01/23/12 04:07 PM
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PianoZac Offline
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Yes as a fellow N1 owner and looking to get my action regulated, I would love to see photos, measure the key depth, etc. may I ask how you or the technician is getting to the action? I hear the N1s are tricky to get to the action.


Kawai MP7SE
Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1830379
01/23/12 04:23 PM
01/23/12 04:23 PM
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If you can take a good picture of the under-key sensors and the hammer sensors, that would be great.

There's a lot of talk and uncertainty about this dual sensor system: (1) whether the hammer sensors are optical or they the rubber type that most DP's have (2) which set of sensors does velocity and which does damper, etc.

Since people have been talking about regulation, if you could take pictures of as much as the regulatable parts of the action too, that would be great. Basically it would be nice to know things like if you changed the keyboard weight, would it affect the velocity calculation somehow.

Measuring key length is also great, though we have a good idea of what is probably is.

I'm looking forward to whatever photos you are able to get!

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1830427
01/23/12 05:28 PM
01/23/12 05:28 PM
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I second the key length (pivot to played end of a white key). Yamaha implied it was the same as that of a large grand action, but others have said it is shorter, so it would be nice to be able to resolve this.

I second the key switch as well, wondering mainly if it is optical or rubber.

Pics of the main brain board might be useful too.

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: PianoZac] #1830474
01/23/12 06:25 PM
01/23/12 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ZacharyForbes
Yes as a fellow N1 owner and looking to get my action regulated, I would love to see photos, measure the key depth, etc. may I ask how you or the technician is getting to the action? I hear the N1s are tricky to get to the action.


I have no idea, I will try to watch how he opens the thing. He is n't a piano technician, just a general service guy for Yamaha and other brands. I chose him from a list on the Yamaha site that they pointed me to after I wrote to their support.

I asked him if he would be able to lighten the touch, but as expected I would need a proper piano technician who would probably spend a whole afternoon changing the weight on each key.

He did talk to Yamaha about it apparently. They said he could try to lube some kind of "guide pin" or something? I can't properly translate it, nor do I know what exactly they meant by it. I know precious little about piano actions. He offered to do it for CHF 150 (about $160 at current rates), but I really doubt it will help much.

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1831629
01/25/12 03:24 PM
01/25/12 03:24 PM
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Gigantoad Offline OP
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Updated the original post. Last 4 images don't show up for some reason, but you can click the links.

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1831655
01/25/12 04:14 PM
01/25/12 04:14 PM
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Nashville, Tennessee
PianoZac Offline
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Great job on the pics! Thank you for sharing. I'm going to just play my N1 for a while longer and see if it loosens up some. If not, no big deal. I would guess taking the N1 apart must have been a task with the speakers and wiring, etc. what did you have done to your N1? Did the guy do anything to your action? Is it back together? Does it play any differently? Sorry for all the questions just a very curious fellow N1 owner. Thanks again Gigantoad.

Sorry I got ahead of myself, did he do anything else to your action other than the fix to your key? Also how long have you had your N1?

Last edited by ZacharyForbes; 01/25/12 04:22 PM.

Kawai MP7SE
Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1831665
01/25/12 04:23 PM
01/25/12 04:23 PM
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Northern NJ
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Thanks!

Too bad you didn't measure the key length to the key pivot post, that's the most important in terms of mechanical advantage as perceived by the player. Overall length doesn't mean too much.

Comparing #5 to #11 there seems to be a huge difference in hammer weight grading from bass to treble. Those bass weights look particularly massive, I can imagine why people say the AG has a heavy feel.

The brain board pics unfortunately don't have enough resolution to read any of the IC numbers.

Those look like individual amplifier boards in #2.

#4 is very interesting, the optical sensors on the hammers use fiber optics, not something I would have expected. It looks like the fibers are terminated at that block in #13. And I wonder if this is just a single sensor on the hammer? Perhaps they have a sensor on the key and then use the time difference between them instead of a third sensor?

Where are the speakers in #7, #8, and #9 located? They look rather small, perhaps 5" diameter max?

I assume those round wooden things in #16 - #18 are the letoff buttons.

I'll add this to the "DPs Exposed!" thread - thanks again!

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: PianoZac] #1831670
01/25/12 04:26 PM
01/25/12 04:26 PM
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Gigantoad Offline OP
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Originally Posted by ZacharyForbes
Great job on the pics! Thank you for sharing. I'm going to just play my N1 for a while longer and see if it loosens up some. If not, no big deal. I would guess taking the N1 apart must have been a task with the speakers and wiring, etc. what did you have done to your N1? Did the guy do anything to your action? Is it back together? Does it play any differently? Sorry for all the questions just a very curious fellow N1 owner. Thanks again Gigantoad.


I have edited the text of the original post as well to describe the procedure as best as I could. It wasn't too bad really smile

He fixed an issue with a black key that made a louder noise than the other keys when releasing it. Turned out it hit one of those screws between the keys (best visible in image 19). By adjusting that screw a little the key now moves freely again.

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: dewster] #1831674
01/25/12 04:32 PM
01/25/12 04:32 PM
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EssBrace Offline
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Originally Posted by dewster
Perhaps they have a sensor on the key and then use the time difference between them instead of a third sensor?


There is definitely an optical key sensor...if it's very dark in the room you can see a gentle red light emanating from between the keys, which I assume is something to do with the sensors. Seeing these very welcome pictures from Gigantoad seems to answer the question about whether the hammer sensors are optical or rubber buttons.


Roland RD-1000 | Yamaha CLP 645 | Broadwood Barless 7' 6"
Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1831716
01/25/12 05:52 PM
01/25/12 05:52 PM
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Yeah, I think we've always known the key sensors are optical, but the hammer sensors we didn't know about.

So can you guys explain how you know the hammer sensors are optical? It seems like the sensor is out of sight. Or are those yellow tabs attached to the hammer shanks in #4 a way of breaking a beam of light? And then the light goes down the optical fibers and is actually sensed in some location all together. Is that right?

Are we still thinking that hammer sensors calculate the velocity while key sensors govern the damper? I only see one fiber coming out of each key (and one going in) which makes me wonder if the hammer sensors govern the dampers (you would need two paths to be broken in order to calculate velocity).

Last edited by gvfarns; 01/25/12 05:59 PM.
Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1831734
01/25/12 06:06 PM
01/25/12 06:06 PM
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It seems those tabs on the hammers move up through those slits and the yellow thingies on top somehow measure that movement in some optical way. I don't think there is anything more hidden underneath.

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1831737
01/25/12 06:09 PM
01/25/12 06:09 PM
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On the GranTouch, the first generation hybrid from Yamaha, there is a metal tab under every key that breaks the optical beam when the key is depressed.

I'm sure the N series is the same.


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Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: gvfarns] #1831763
01/25/12 06:46 PM
01/25/12 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
So can you guys explain how you know the hammer sensors are optical?


Well, they are connected with fibre optic cabling - this is not my area but I assume they are therefore optical sensors?


Roland RD-1000 | Yamaha CLP 645 | Broadwood Barless 7' 6"
Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1831768
01/25/12 06:56 PM
01/25/12 06:56 PM
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Thanks Gigantoad, very interesting pictures indeed!

Originally Posted by Gigantoad

The length of the key, the whole thing from front to back, seems to be about 480 mm (about 18.9 inches), key depth measured at the front of white key was 26 mm (little more than an inch).


I measured the length of the keys on my C3 and they are also 480mm long (more or less). So it's possible that this action has the same geometry as the C3's.
It's interesting that the repetition levers are not made of wood (photo #4 and #11, the white levers between the hammer shanks) - looks like nylon or something similar.

Originally Posted by dewster

#4 is very interesting, the optical sensors on the hammers use fiber optics, not something I would have expected. It looks like the fibers are terminated at that block in #13. And I wonder if this is just a single sensor on the hammer? Perhaps they have a sensor on the key and then use the time difference between them instead of a third sensor?


Dewster, I remember seeing the action of a silent grand from Yamaha. There is a hole in the shutter.
If I remember correctly, when you press the key at one point, as the shank goes up, the light is interrupted. At the end of the stroke the light passes through the hole again. So the time the sensor goes dark is proportional to the speed of the hammer, similar to two sensor.
I think the sensor under the key, besides "lifting" the dampers, allows the system to know when the light interruption is from the hammer coming down, so that no note is triggered.


Yamaha C3M - Kawai Novus - VSL CFX & Steinway D - Garritan CFX - Pianoteq Pro - American Concert D - Ravenscroft 275
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Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Erard] #1831822
01/25/12 08:02 PM
01/25/12 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Erard
Dewster, I remember seeing the action of a silent grand from Yamaha. There is a hole in the shutter.
If I remember correctly, when you press the key at one point, as the shank goes up, the light is interrupted. At the end of the stroke the light passes through the hole again. So the time the sensor goes dark is proportional to the speed of the hammer, similar to two sensor.
I think the sensor under the key, besides "lifting" the dampers, allows the system to know when the light interruption is from the hammer coming down, so that no note is triggered.

That doesn't seem entirely foolproof. What if you play a note light enough for the edge of shutter to just barely obscure the beam before falling back - couldn't that cause a false trigger?

If they have some trick in software to somehow guard against this, might that sometimes quash a valid trigger?

The way to do this unambiguously (i.e. correctly) is to have two sensors, not two events with a single sensor.

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: dewster] #1832064
01/26/12 03:59 AM
01/26/12 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dewster

That doesn't seem entirely foolproof. What if you play a note light enough for the edge of shutter to just barely obscure the beam before falling back - couldn't that cause a false trigger?

If they have some trick in software to somehow guard against this, might that sometimes quash a valid trigger?

The way to do this unambiguously (i.e. correctly) is to have two sensors, not two events with a single sensor.


That's a good point.
Then maybe it's the key that triggers the note, and the hammer sensor is used only to compute the speed? Or a combination of both?
In the case you describe, the key would be up and no note would be triggered.

Here is an image of the shutter of a C3S:
[Linked Image]

The oval shape of the hole seems to account for hammer checking, as the hammer goes down a little bit after hitting the string.
In any case, it would be interesting to know exactly why (and how) they use two set of sensors, while it seem to be possible to make the whole thing work with sensors under the key only (e.g. PNOscan).

This is what Yamaha says in the specs for the C3S:

Hammer Sensors
88 one-beam, two-point optical fiber sensors
Key Sensors
88 two-beam, four-point optical fiber sensors (key-release velocity sensing)

The 'key release velocity sensing' bit makes things even more interesting....

Last edited by Erard; 01/26/12 09:32 AM.

Yamaha C3M - Kawai Novus - VSL CFX & Steinway D - Garritan CFX - Pianoteq Pro - American Concert D - Ravenscroft 275
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Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1832088
01/26/12 05:48 AM
01/26/12 05:48 AM
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I believe on my GranTouch there were two sets of optical sensors, one to measure the velocity of the hammer and the other to register key on\key off - the piece of metal embedded into the bottom of the key which interrupted the light.

There were also, of course, sensors for the three pedals.

I'm fairly certain this is a mature technology.


website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Erard] #1832196
01/26/12 11:03 AM
01/26/12 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Erard
In any case, it would be interesting to know exactly why (and how) they use two set of sensors, while it seem to be possible to make the whole thing work with sensors under the key only (e.g. PNOscan).


Though PNOscan is a flawed technology in that you can tap the key fast so that the hammer flies up and hits the string, but if you don't press the key all the way down, it doesn't register as a strike. Measuring velocity on the hammer seems like it would be sufficient (this is how most DP's work) but I can't think of how under-key sensors alone can do a sufficient job.

I wonder why the C3S has two sensors (four beams) under the keys. Isn't one two-beam sensor enough to measure velocity? I guess I don't understand how they are distributing the work here.

Re: Inside the AvantGrand N1 [Re: Gigantoad] #1832258
01/26/12 12:39 PM
01/26/12 12:39 PM
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I'll be honest, I don't really care much for the tech specs of my N1. It plays as fast as I want, it doesn't drop notes, and offers the best playing and practicing experience I've had on a non acoustic grand. I'd have to say without a doubt, because of the N1, and the ability to spend my time practicing on its acoustic action, my technique has progressed leaps and bounds. And there's no transition going to and fro acoustic pianos like there always used to be.


Kawai MP7SE
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