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The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else #1908305
06/04/12 03:10 PM
06/04/12 03:10 PM
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oivavoi Offline OP
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Hi,
I guess this has been covered in other threads as well, but I just have to share this. I just came home from a local music store. I'm in the process of buying my first DP, and have been frequenting most of the music stores in Oslo in order to try out different models. In another thread here I announced that I'd settled on a Kawai CA63 - except that they're apparently updating it with a new model (CA65), so I decided to wait it out.

But in the store I went to today they also had the AvantGrand series from Yamaha, that I haven't seen in any of the other stores. I thought - it's way too expensive, but why not try it out just for fun? And I have to say this: OMFG!! I would never never never have believed that a DP could sound and feel that way. I felt the instrument responding to me - the touch, the level of intensity, the sound - I felt that I could actually interact with the instrument. I've never been close to that feeling on other DPs. And I don't get that feeling on all uprights either, actually.

So now I feel this way: You have the AvantGrand. (for me that would mean the N1, as that model is only very far out of my price range, while the others are absurdly far out of my price range). And then you have everything else. Rolands, Kawais, Clavinovas... it just doesn't come close. The differences between those models seem very minor compared to the huge leap up to the N1.

After playing on the N1 I have second thoughts on the Kawai. Can I afford the N1? Probably not. At least not for now. But if I can't afford the N1, why not buy a cheaper model now, and save up for the N1... I was thinking of the Casio celviano 620 - which has lots of stuff for the price, the whole bells and whistles thing (the 16-track recorder is actually a very cool feature that very few other models have). And it seems like I might get a very good deal on that one.

(btw, I also tried out Roland HP507 today, a new model that has just come to Norway - really liked the sound and feel on that one as well! But then again - it's not even close to the N1. So I'm not sure if it's worth it to spend that much money on something that's not the real deal)

Is it only me, or have others had the same experience?


Happily improvising at my Kawai CS10
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Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1908310
06/04/12 03:23 PM
06/04/12 03:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
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Suffolk, United Kingdom
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EssBrace Offline
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Interesting observations. I bought an AvantGrand because I think it's the best acoustic piano substitute. But I'm not sure I'd wax quite as lyrically as you do about it. It is a little way short of perfection in some respects and all AGs are relatively expensive. There's one or two things in particular I'd change about the AG series but yes, I think taking everything into consideration it is the best there is right now.

Most significantly for you, it would appear you have found something that you can live very happily with - and in the world of DPs that is a very good outcome.


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7 | Yamaha CLP 645
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1908311
06/04/12 03:24 PM
06/04/12 03:24 PM
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As of yesterday, I'm the proud owner of an AvantGrand N3. It sounds like I went through many of the same considerations in reaching the conclusion, including the Kawai. I came very close to purchasing a CA93 ... made an offer, negotiated, and came within $300 of a sale. I really liked the CA93 and went back to the store. I spent an hour (more?) going between the Kawai DP, Roland V-Grand, and some acoustics (Kawai RX-3, K-3, Shigeru SK-2, SK-3, and an SK-6 or 7) to get a "real" feel comparison between what I consider unbelievable acoustics and the digital. Totally not the fair comparison, I'll admit (but what else do we compare if not a great acoustic)? Then I drove across town and spent the same amount of time on the AvantGrand. That pretty much made my decision for me.

Fast forward a week, and I picked up my AvantGrand N3 yesterday. Met the piano movers today and we unloaded it, set it up, and it's wonderfully sweet. I had also looked at the possibility of the new AvantGrand NU1, which is an upright action and form.

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi...s/nu1/nu1/?mode=model#tab=product_lineup

My semi-local dealer quoted me a street price of $3999 USD for the NU1 (MSRP of $5499), but that price will likely vary across regions and continents. Certainly a less expensive version of the AvantGrand. Also, don't be afraid to ask for a lower price. Without any negotiating I purchased an N3 for the MSRP of an N1.


AvantGrand N3
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: NoticeofAppeal] #1908315
06/04/12 03:28 PM
06/04/12 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by NoticeofAppeal
Without any negotiating I purchased an N3 for the MSRP of an N1.


Wow. Well done. I paid a fortune for mine (albeit a thousand or two below list) but also had to provide a kidney as down-payment. AGs don't come cheap in the UK.

I just don't know how dealers stay in business with little or no margin - anyway, well done again on the great deal you got!


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7 | Yamaha CLP 645
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Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1908323
06/04/12 03:42 PM
06/04/12 03:42 PM
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Norway
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Thanks for sharing your AvantGrand experiences:)

And really interesting to hear about the NU1, NoticeofAppeal. So that one is mimicking the action of an upright in stead of a grand, if I understand you correctly? Did you hear anything on when it will be available in shops? (anyway that's probably going to be different in Norway)

I just read this review of the avantgrands, from a guy who seems to know what he's talking about: http://azpianonews.blogspot.no/2011/10/review-yamaha-avantgrand-n1-n2-n3.html
He thinks prices might drop sharply on the avantgrands in the years to come. If so, I might just go for a cheaper model now (perhaps one with lots of bells and whistles that you don't get on the avantgrand), and wait a couple of years before I invest in a real Avantgrand-bastard wink

Hope I didn't put you recent avantgrand-owners off with talking about price drops, hehe - congrats on your new DPs!


Happily improvising at my Kawai CS10
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1908338
06/04/12 04:11 PM
06/04/12 04:11 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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The AvantGrand models are the best acoustic piano replacements/alternatives currently available.

However, I too am alarmed at the massive price reductions in recent weeks/months.

James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1908340
06/04/12 04:16 PM
06/04/12 04:16 PM
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If I'm not mistaken, the NU1 uses the new CFX concert grand from Yamaha but the sampling technique is not the same. That would mean that Yamaha spent less on sampling since it's not a very expensive model and more than that you only get upright action, which for me is a major deal breaker. I sold a Steinway K cause I was tired of the action. I have no room for grand so the AG was a revelation.

Considering Yamaha began their hybrid models with the Grand Touch over 10 years ago, you'd of thought some other manufacturer would of done the same. I almost bought a Grand Touch before I decided on Steinway K. Considering how much intensive practice I get now, if I had to do it over, I would of went with Grand Touch years ago.

I like not having any tuning or humidity headaches with acoustics and I cherish the times now I get to play a real grand, but for wood shedding, its a great tool.

Last edited by 36251; 06/04/12 04:17 PM.

AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1908342
06/04/12 04:18 PM
06/04/12 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by oivavoi
Thanks for sharing your AvantGrand experiences:)

And really interesting to hear about the NU1, NoticeofAppeal. So that one is mimicking the action of an upright in stead of a grand, if I understand you correctly? Did you hear anything on when it will be available in shops? (anyway that's probably going to be different in Norway)

I just read this review of the avantgrands, from a guy who seems to know what he's talking about: http://azpianonews.blogspot.no/2011/10/review-yamaha-avantgrand-n1-n2-n3.html
He thinks prices might drop sharply on the avantgrands in the years to come. If so, I might just go for a cheaper model now (perhaps one with lots of bells and whistles that you don't get on the avantgrand), and wait a couple of years before I invest in a real Avantgrand-bastard wink

Hope I didn't put you recent avantgrand-owners off with talking about price drops, hehe - congrats on your new DPs!


just read this review of the avantgrands, from a guy who seems to know what he's talking about....



From that link ...

But here's the one major drawback to all of them in my opinion; this is the very 1st series of these "hybrid digital pianos" that Yamaha has created, and given what digital technology is these days and how fast it's moving, the N1, N2, & N3 selling prices are really quite high as is typical with new digital/hybrid piano technology in attractive furniture style cabinets.


Very first? Did this expert forget the GranTouch that was introduced in 1995?


website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: Dave Horne] #1908378
06/04/12 05:04 PM
06/04/12 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
Originally Posted by oivavoi
Thanks for sharing your AvantGrand experiences:)

And really interesting to hear about the NU1, NoticeofAppeal. So that one is mimicking the action of an upright in stead of a grand, if I understand you correctly? Did you hear anything on when it will be available in shops? (anyway that's probably going to be different in Norway)

I just read this review of the avantgrands, from a guy who seems to know what he's talking about: http://azpianonews.blogspot.no/2011/10/review-yamaha-avantgrand-n1-n2-n3.html
He thinks prices might drop sharply on the avantgrands in the years to come. If so, I might just go for a cheaper model now (perhaps one with lots of bells and whistles that you don't get on the avantgrand), and wait a couple of years before I invest in a real Avantgrand-bastard wink

Hope I didn't put you recent avantgrand-owners off with talking about price drops, hehe - congrats on your new DPs!


just read this review of the avantgrands, from a guy who seems to know what he's talking about....



From that link ...

But here's the one major drawback to all of them in my opinion; this is the very 1st series of these "hybrid digital pianos" that Yamaha has created, and given what digital technology is these days and how fast it's moving, the N1, N2, & N3 selling prices are really quite high as is typical with new digital/hybrid piano technology in attractive furniture style cabinets.


Very first? Did this expert forget the GranTouch that was introduced in 1995?


Dave,

Anything past 10 years is forgotten it seems. In fact most people don't go back to read any posts that are more than a couple weeks old in forums so we all end up repeating ourselves most of the time.

I haven't played the NU1 yet and would like to see Dewster's take on the sound in comparison to the N1's use of hybrid technology.

Kawai James,

I do see prices dropping for all the AG series which means they are wanting to get rid of stock and make room for newer models, or something else is afoot.

NoticeofAppeal,

Congrats on your new DP :), we all here in the forum welcome you to the club. My question is what did you think of the V-Piano Grand since you tried it out in comparison to the N1 that made you choose the latter?

On a side note, piano salesman that have these N3's in stock actually sometimes try and talk you out of it nowadays and push you toward a similarly priced baby grand. I had one tell me the other day that "There are no speakers, amplifiers, or control panels to go bad in acoustic pianos" in essence placing doubt that the electronics will hold up. I had to laugh when I heard this since I have spent a small fortune on upkeep for my parents acoustics over the years but the one instrument that has stood the test of time is my 12 year old Clavinova. No problems with it and it still sounds exactly the same as it did the first day I bought it, as all digital pianos should. I am hoping my V-piano can last as long without any issues.

Last edited by Kona_V-Piano; 06/04/12 05:21 PM.

Roland V-Piano, Yamaha CLP990, Yamaha S90
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: Kona_V-Piano] #1909258
06/06/12 07:59 AM
06/06/12 07:59 AM
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Norway
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oivavoi Offline OP
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Update: In line with my new-won insight that most DPs pale completely compared to the Avantgrands, I decided to go with a cheaper model for now: The Casio Celviano ap-620. Just ordered it! I think I'm happy with my purchase. And I got it for a bargain price (at least compared to prices in other shops in Norway).

I realized after trying the N1 that even a purchase of a Kawai CS-6 or CA65, a Yamaha CLP 470/480 or a Roland HP 507 would not satisfy me in the long run. At some point it would just not be good enough - and I would want to invest in either an Avantgrand or a real grand (if I've moved to a house of my own and can afford it). I realized that for me, this purchase is about what will simply be good enough for now (I'm not yet in the phase where I've "settled down"). AND: Something I can have fun with and play around with, easily use to record music, etc. I realized that with the Ap-620 I could get all of that for half the price of the Kawais or the Roland I was looking at. Easy choice.

But no doubt: at some point I'll get an avantgrand. An Avantgrand for artistic expression and musical beauty, and the simpler Ap-620 for fun time and music recording - seems to me a good combination smile


Happily improvising at my Kawai CS10
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: Kawai James] #1909358
06/06/12 11:02 AM
06/06/12 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
The AvantGrand models are the best acoustic piano replacements/alternatives currently available.

However, I too am alarmed at the massive price reductions in recent weeks/months.

James
x


Almost certainly, the AGs will be undergoing an update, i.e. replacement. It's untenable to keep them going with outdated CF-IIIS samples when the cheaper NU1 already has the CFX samples. To my mind, if you like the CF-IIIS sound, now is the time to buy an AG new, on the cheap.

On the other hand, if you really want the latest and only the latest....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1909474
06/06/12 01:48 PM
06/06/12 01:48 PM
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pacific nw, usa
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Hi oivavoi, and congrats on your purchase. I've had a 620 for about a year and a half now and I've been quite pleased with it. I think you will be happy with it as well, especially if you want to use some of the bells and whistles. i pretty much like the modern grand variation 1 piano sound that I tweaked to my liking, but there is a lot there to play around with.
As I've said in numerous other posts, I would suggest you get some good headphones and external monitors since the onboard speakers don't do justice to the sound the 620 can produce. I have the M-audio bx5a monitors which are not too pricey and fit nicely on top of the cabinet.
Let me know what you think of it when you have played it a bit, OK?
Enjoy!


Lee
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1909478
06/06/12 01:52 PM
06/06/12 01:52 PM
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Pish posh.. Just because a couple of people on the forum got some crazy deal on an AvantGrand, doesn't mean that a new model is right around the corner. The N1 isn't more than about a year old. To have a complete new line of AvantGrands later this year or whatever would be completely unprecedented AFAIK. The AvantGrands might not be as "perfect" as they could be if Yamaha had been even more attentive to all the small details, but the AvantGrand is the best DP alternative currently on the market IMO. You can really get some serious work done on these instruments. I've noticed that the local store here sell an AvantGrand (N1 and N2) every now and then (and these are expensive instruments), so I would be suprised if Yamaha felt the need the update their AvantGrand line anytime soon..

Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: Karnevil] #1909495
06/06/12 02:25 PM
06/06/12 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Karnevil
Pish posh.. Just because a couple of people on the forum got some crazy deal on an AvantGrand, doesn't mean that a new model is right around the corner. The N1 isn't more than about a year old. To have a complete new line of AvantGrands later this year or whatever would be completely unprecedented AFAIK. The AvantGrand might not be as "perfect" as they could be if Yamaha had been even more attentive to all the small details, but the AvantGrand is the best DP alternative currently on the market IMO. You can really get some serious work done on these instruments. I've noticed that the local store here sell an AvantGrand (N1 and N2) every now and then (and these are expensive instruments), so I would be suprised if Yamaha felt the need the update their AvantGrand line anytime soon..
+1 on getting serious work done. The combination of the action and the fact that it's always tuned and voiced really allows me to stay more focused in the shed.


AG N2 | CP4 | SSv3 | GK MK & MP
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: leemax] #1909623
06/06/12 05:54 PM
06/06/12 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by leemax
Hi oivavoi, and congrats on your purchase. I've had a 620 for about a year and a half now and I've been quite pleased with it. I think you will be happy with it as well, especially if you want to use some of the bells and whistles. i pretty much like the modern grand variation 1 piano sound that I tweaked to my liking, but there is a lot there to play around with.
As I've said in numerous other posts, I would suggest you get some good headphones and external monitors since the onboard speakers don't do justice to the sound the 620 can produce. I have the M-audio bx5a monitors which are not too pricey and fit nicely on top of the cabinet.
Let me know what you think of it when you have played it a bit, OK?
Enjoy!


Thanks! I guess I'll get it in a week or so. I'll keep you posted.

What kind of headphones are you using? Since I'm new to this whole DP-thing I wasn't aware until recently that good quality headphones actually make a big difference ... but now I know. I've been thinking of purchasing the Sennheiser HD 598's - seems like people are really happy with them.

Thanks for the tip about the speakers as well! I''ll see how I feel about the internal speakers when I get to play them some. Aestethically I'm not sure if I'm all happy about getting speakers on top of the piano - but maybe it won't look so bad:) I assume you have to run them through an amplifier? Or do you connect them directly to the DP?

Last edited by oivavoi; 06/06/12 05:56 PM.

Happily improvising at my Kawai CS10
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: Kona_V-Piano] #1909661
06/06/12 07:07 PM
06/06/12 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Kona_V-Piano
NoticeofAppeal,

Congrats on your new DP :), we all here in the forum welcome you to the club. My question is what did you think of the V-Piano Grand since you tried it out in comparison to the N1 that made you choose the latter?


I liked the V-piano very much, but preferred the N3 action. I also wonder if the VG would have been more money? I'm not sure what the VGs sell for... I was, and am, really tempted by the modeled pianos ... and think the V-piano would compliment the N3 nicely. Quite frankly, though, I think that Roland should have sourced a real grand action for the V. It seems it wouldn't change the form factor for the VG.

Thus far, I'm loving the N3. The playing is almost too close to acoustic to believe its digital, and I need to play quietly after the kids are asleep (and I can't annoy the wife any more than I already do :-)

As for pricing, it's almost like I did this dealer a favor (or at least we did each other a favor). It's in a rather depressed, rural area and I doubt they ever would have sold the N3. Seattle, on the other hand, seems to sell quite a lot of the AGs.


AvantGrand N3
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1909720
06/06/12 09:38 PM
06/06/12 09:38 PM
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Nashville, Tennessee
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Having owned my AvantGrand for a year now, I've grown to appreciate it. I think there is a definite disconnect between the action and sound and it's never more evident than after I've played a decent grand. The sound through headphones is average, but through the speakers is quite impressive. I think the AvantGrands definitely set a benchmark in touch and offering a legit acoustic substitute, but they are far from perfect. I'd say without a doubt, the best perk is being able to practice on an acoustic action day or night, anytime and not have to worry about being too loud. Another perk is I've been offered what I paid for my AvantGrand should I trade it in for an acoustic to upgrade. I paid $8,000 for mine so it's nice to know I essentially have put that money toward a full acoustic, which is something that cannot be said if I owned any other DP.


Kawai MP7SE
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: PianoZac] #1909773
06/07/12 12:39 AM
06/07/12 12:39 AM
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Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1909822
06/07/12 03:49 AM
06/07/12 03:49 AM
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It's by far the only genuine replacement for a AP but that's only because its got a real grand action.
Nothing else about it is particularly fabulous apart from the real grand action and that shows you just how much of a piano comes down to the touch and feel. I'd have to admit I like the Roland HP507's sound better as a stand alone board but your right in that the whole experience with the AG is simply another level up entirely.


"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally associated with Arturia but my sentiments are my own only.
Re: The AvantGrand (N1) vs. everything else [Re: oivavoi] #1909858
06/07/12 06:25 AM
06/07/12 06:25 AM
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Nashville, Tennessee
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Btw, my dealer here in Nashville, TN has sold several N3s to churches and big country artists and a ton of N1s to schools and institutions.


Kawai MP7SE
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