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#1930001 - 07/20/12 10:22 PM New(ish) AvantGrand video  
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Folks,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG5EVGf98lU&feature=relmfu

Just saw this recent addition to YouTube. Don't think anyone has referenced this before on PW. It's mainly just salesmanship to be honest - perhaps it's even exclusively salesmanship!

But perhaps worth a watch from about 2:30.

Cheers,

Steve

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#1930023 - 07/20/12 11:14 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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I haven't seen the action displayed like that anywhere else, and there are a few other factoids here that are new. Thanks for posting it, Steve!


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#1930036 - 07/20/12 11:47 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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Interesting. John Ebata is who I purchased my N3 from.

Lawrence

#1930041 - 07/21/12 12:08 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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This video will undoubtedly stimulate much discussion (though perhaps little that hasn't already been said on PW). For those who do not own one of these things, I would point out that (1) there's no evidence I'm aware of that this instrument detects and produces a more subtle range of velocities than typical MIDI 0 to 127 (It doesn't play with more granularity/subtlety than a 0 to 127 board, IMHO, and the MIDI outs are certainly 0 to 127.) and (2) I believe it's fairly well established that the action isn't that of a "concert grand" but rather a much shorter grand.

Puffery aside, the instrument is useful for practice. I doubt I'll sell my N2 anytime soon. I just think the marketing gets a little overblown sometimes.


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#1930078 - 07/21/12 03:16 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: kippesc]  
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Originally Posted by kippesc
I believe it's fairly well established that the action isn't that of a "concert grand" but rather a much shorter grand.


Yes, a very short grand indeed. I am surprised at the short key length actually. I'm not sure they aren't custom length keys specifically for the AG. They really are a bit too short IMO - shorter than my U3's keys and quite a bit shorter to the pivot than Kawai's latest RM3 action in the CA65/95. That's a large oversight, IMO, given it governs the touch so much when playing further up the key.

Regarding the increased internal MIDI resolution - yes it's odd that it only ever gets spoken about anecdotally. Why would Yamaha want to avoid stating this number in any of its documentation? Surely it would be better to let us know if it were better than 128 steps. Even if it were only 256 or 512 - still a good selling point. The fact that it's never been written anywhere suggests it's all smoke and mirrors and it's just normal MIDI.

#1930093 - 07/21/12 04:21 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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I posted here a while back asking about the length of various sized actions and where the N series fits in.

I forget the information. smile I assume it's comparable to a six footer ... or slightly more.



website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
#1930102 - 07/21/12 05:25 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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Yeah, I'm very happy with my AvantGrand, but to say that it's pretty much identical to a real HQ acoustic grand is just not true. Too many shortcuts, and still the N3 costs a fortune. However, you're not gonna find a better digital piano on the market today...

#1930110 - 07/21/12 05:53 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: ando]  
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Originally Posted by ando
Yes, a very short grand indeed. I am surprised at the short key length actually. I'm not sure they aren't custom length keys specifically for the AG. They really are a bit too short IMO - shorter than my U3's keys and quite a bit shorter to the pivot than Kawai's latest RM3 action in the CA65/95.


ando, can you point us to the reference for this information? I've seen the action out on my N3 when the Yamaha tech came to do something to it and I certainly did not get the impression the key/action length was unusually short. I was told that the action was essentially a C3 action with specialised hammer assembly.

The video is mainly marketing puffery - the AG certainly does not have a concert grand action but I do think there is substance in the velocity claim. I think it is capable of recognising 1000+ *playing* levels but when those levels are divided across maybe just 5,6,7 or even 8 *real* velocity layers in the sampling process, even with a blended/filtered sound engine, then the velocity resolution of the sensors etc is a bit of a moot point and of little consequence. 1000+ genuinely graduated volume *and* timbral layers would be nice but I don't think anyone could make that claim for the AG.

I also agree with kippesc that it doesn't really play with any more nuance than a 0-127 DP but the additional *value* if you like is the interaction with the real action, and that makes it *feel* much more nuanced. Having owned more or less everything it is my opinion that the AG is on another level entirely, purely in terms of tactile feedback and satisfaction. The MP10 is very good but just not even close to the AG - understandable given that the N3 for instance is over five times the price of the MP10.

On another topic, I've been spending lots of time listening to Yamaha U3 upright videos on YT and I'm reassessing my attitude to upright pianos. A good one sounds wonderful.

Anyway, enough of my waffling.

Steve


Last edited by EssBrace; 07/21/12 05:56 AM.
#1930141 - 07/21/12 08:00 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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I think the thread he's referring to is this one.

At about the same time I asked the piano technicians about key ratios. Specifically I was asking whether the ratio of the fulrum to key edge to fulrum to hammer was the same in every piano, but it turned a bit into a discussion of key length overall. Some guys over there felt that the longer keys of a concert grand were not necessarily better because longer keys have more flex and also more inertia. Well, you can read it yourself here.

Last edited by gvfarns; 07/21/12 08:08 AM.
#1930144 - 07/21/12 08:07 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by ando
Yes, a very short grand indeed. I am surprised at the short key length actually. I'm not sure they aren't custom length keys specifically for the AG. They really are a bit too short IMO - shorter than my U3's keys and quite a bit shorter to the pivot than Kawai's latest RM3 action in the CA65/95.


ando, can you point us to the reference for this information? I've seen the action out on my N3 when the Yamaha tech came to do something to it and I certainly did not get the impression the key/action length was unusually short. I was told that the action was essentially a C3 action with specialised hammer assembly.




No reference, I was going by the various action models I've seen recently while shopping for a grand piano. Most shops have a working model of the action for particular models and some grands actually had the action and keys exposed to see. They were generally quite a bit longer from the end of the black key to the pivot. I just had a look at my U3 action and it is about the same length as the AG - so I was incorrect about saying the U3 was longer.

I'm not suggesting the AG isn't a nice action or that it's a dog to play, but it's a fair way off a concert action - with those you barely notice a difference between playing at the front of the key or all the way in at the fallboard. I think Yamaha probably kept the key length on the shorter side because they were going for compactness in the design and they wanted the action to fit in all 3 models of the AG. That's fine by me, I just think they shouldn't hype it up and suggest it has the key-length of a concert grand in these promotional videos.

#1930145 - 07/21/12 08:09 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: ando]  
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Originally Posted by ando
I just think they shouldn't hype it up and suggest it has the key-length of a concert grand in these promotional videos.


Totally agree with you.

#1930148 - 07/21/12 08:14 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
I've seen the action out on my N3 when the Yamaha tech came to do something to it and I certainly did not get the impression the key/action length was unusually short. I was told that the action was essentially a C3 action with specialised hammer assembly.

Over on this thread we were told the AG action is based on a C1 Conservatory Classic Collection piano (5-foot, 3-inch grand).

Originally Posted by EssBrace
The video is mainly marketing puffery - the AG certainly does not have a concert grand action but I do think there is substance in the velocity claim. I think it is capable of recognising 1000+ *playing* levels but when those levels are divided across maybe just 5,6,7 or even 8 *real* velocity layers in the sampling process, even with a blended/filtered sound engine, then the velocity resolution of the sensors etc is a bit of a moot point and of little consequence. 1000+ genuinely graduated volume *and* timbral layers would be nice but I don't think anyone could make that claim for the AG.

Around 1:30 he seems to imply that it has the keys of a 9' grand: "... so if you think of having a Yamaha CFx or CF3 9' concert grand fully MIDIed up so I can record and send, print out my notation that I'm playing...".

What I find a tad disturbing in the video (thanks very much for bringing it to our attention Steve!) is the passing on of Yamaha apocrypha, rather than real specs. This isn't the Shroud of Turin or dinosaur eggs we're talking about, this is something that's currently being manufactured.

#1930149 - 07/21/12 08:15 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: gvfarns]  
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
At about the same time I asked the piano technicians about key ratios. Specifically I was asking whether the ratio of the fulrum to key edge to fulrum to hammer was the same in every piano, but it turned a bit into a discussion of key length overall. Some guys over there felt that the longer keys of a concert grand were not necessarily better because longer keys have more flex and also more inertia. Well, you can read it yourself here.


Thanks, very interesting.

#1930152 - 07/21/12 08:20 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: dewster]  
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Originally Posted by dewster
Over on this thread we were told the AG action is based on a C1 Conservatory Classic Collection piano (5-foot, 3-inch grand).
What I find a tad disturbing in the video (thanks very much for bringing it to our attention Steve!) is the passing on of Yamaha apocrypha, rather than real specs. This isn't the Shroud of Turin or dinosaur eggs we're talking about, this is something that's currently being manufactured.


Yes, we were told that, but the source is, well, what is the source? Likewise I say C3, but what is my source? It was the guy that sold it to me!

So I completely agree with you. Sales-people are fanning the flames of Yamaha's marketing dept and then adding their own slant. Which is often (though not always) additional nonsense.

To say it is like having a digital nine-footer (in action terms) stretches the truth way beyond breaking point, clearly.

#1930173 - 07/21/12 09:29 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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I wrote to a keyboard action manufacturer (or rebuilder) and was given the lengths of the keys of various actions. I posted that here in a thread within the last year I believe.

All we have to do is measure a key in the N series and consult that thread or open up a few grands, take measurements, and make comparisons.

I would love to have a hybrid piano that uses the action from a nine footer. Bösendorfer was planning to market one and I would have bought one.

There is one on the market but it's too expensive - http://www.alpha-piano.com/

(I should add that the guy I spoke to at Bösendorfer in Vienna years ago is now associated with Alpha Piano. I assume this is what the Bösendorfer version might have looked like before they were bought out by Yamaha.)



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#1930176 - 07/21/12 09:44 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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Originally Posted by Erard

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.


The quotes are from this post, which was about the N1 (probably the same action as the N3)



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#1930279 - 07/21/12 01:19 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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So maybe - shock, horror - a salesman told me the truth and the AG's action is based on the C3.

To be fair the guy I bought my N3 off was certainly not into any hard selling and seemed to have tip-top product knowledge. This is at a very long-established shop in Cambridge. What was nice, what with Cambridge being a University town, was that quite a number of students came in and played the pianos to their hearts' content.

#1930378 - 07/21/12 06:04 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Yes, we were told that, but the source is, well, what is the source? Likewise I say C3, but what is my source? It was the guy that sold it to me!

The source was Matt Peckham who wrote a piece in TIME Techland - his contact at Yamaha provided the correct info after Dave Horne called him on it. So it's ~C1 IMO unless/until Yamaha changes their mind again (or someone actually measures from the pivot to the playing end and it doesn't jibe with the C1, whatever that measures).

#1930409 - 07/21/12 07:47 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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It actually doesn't really matter what piano the action is based on. The fact is that it is a HYBRID action.

#1930411 - 07/21/12 07:53 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: Dave Horne]  
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne

There is one on the market but it's too expensive - http://www.alpha-piano.com/

(I should add that the guy I spoke to at Bösendorfer in Vienna years ago is now associated with Alpha Piano. I assume this is what the Bösendorfer version might have looked like before they were bought out by Yamaha.)


Dave, are the Alpha Pianos now being sold? If so, what do they cost?

Wait, I see from the FAQs that they're "taking reservations" at 29,000 Euros. At that price, it would be unreasonable to expect speakers, I suppose. Hmmm...

Last edited by ClsscLib; 07/21/12 08:20 PM.

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#1930445 - 07/21/12 09:21 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: Melodialworks Music]  
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Originally Posted by Melodialworks Music
It actually doesn't really matter what piano the action is based on. The fact is that it is a HYBRID action.

HYBRID or not, it actually does matter what piano the action is based on because this sets the mechanical advantage variation over the playing surface.

#1930468 - 07/21/12 10:30 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: dewster]  
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Originally Posted by dewster
Originally Posted by Melodialworks Music
It actually doesn't really matter what piano the action is based on. The fact is that it is a HYBRID action.

HYBRID or not, it actually does matter what piano the action is based on because this sets the mechanical advantage variation over the playing surface.


You're missing the point. I'll try again. It's a MODIFIED action.

#1930478 - 07/21/12 11:05 PM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: ClsscLib]  
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by Dave Horne

There is one on the market but it's too expensive - http://www.alpha-piano.com/

(I should add that the guy I spoke to at Bösendorfer in Vienna years ago is now associated with Alpha Piano. I assume this is what the Bösendorfer version might have looked like before they were bought out by Yamaha.)


Dave, are the Alpha Pianos now being sold? If so, what do they cost?

Wait, I see from the FAQs that they're "taking reservations" at 29,000 Euros. At that price, it would be unreasonable to expect speakers, I suppose. Hmmm...


The Alpha Piano site indicates they are using the VSL Bosendorfer. I wonder if that's the off the shelf Bosie that lacks partial pedaling. Regardless, at the price indicated above, the Alpha Piano makes the N1 qua MIDI controller look like a super bargain.


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#1930553 - 07/22/12 06:43 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: Melodialworks Music]  
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Originally Posted by Melodialworks Music
You're missing the point. I'll try again. It's a MODIFIED action.

And I've missed the point again. smile

It of course isn't a standard piano action just tossed into a case, but beyond that I'm at a loss as to what you're getting at.

Actually, I wonder why someone doesn't do just that: toss an unmodified action into a case and have the hammers hit piezo elements or something. Damper return velocity might be a problem to measure, but that's fairly secondary IMO. Any competent tech could adjust / regulate it.

#1930555 - 07/22/12 06:52 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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@Dewster: I think that Alpha piano is pretty close to that, isnt it? As I've said before though, I wonder whether the AvantGrand has an advantage wrt latency, because I think the AG determines velocity a bit before the "hammers" strike the stopper.

Greg.


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#1930571 - 07/22/12 07:57 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: EssBrace]  
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Question?

Say Yamaha sold another line of AG piano along side current models. Say the new line is called AG boutique. It's attributes were it used sample and action from CFX. Say it would have a street price of $20,000. Who's buying this here?

Ok carry one...

Last edited by 36251; 07/22/12 07:58 AM.

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#1930572 - 07/22/12 08:01 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: 36251]  
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Originally Posted by 36251
Question?

Say Yamaha sold another line of AG piano along side current models. Say the new line is called AG boutique. It's attributes were it used sample and action from CFX. Say it would have a street price of $20,000. Who's buying this here?


Answer? Not me!

#1930575 - 07/22/12 08:08 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: sullivang]  
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Originally Posted by sullivang
@Dewster: I think that Alpha piano is pretty close to that, isnt it? As I've said before though, I wonder whether the AvantGrand has an advantage wrt latency, because I think the AG determines velocity a bit before the "hammers" strike the stopper.

Have Hall Effect sensors under each key to detect key position and return velocity (ala the VAX77). Use these to alert the processor to preload the attack sample of the keys that are starting to be depressed, then play the note with the amplitude from the piezo.

#1930577 - 07/22/12 08:16 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: 36251]  
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Originally Posted by 36251
Say Yamaha sold another line of AG piano along side current models. Say the new line is called AG boutique. It's attributes were it used sample and action from CFX. Say it would have a street price of $20,000. Who's buying this here?

Knowing Yamaha, even if they went to $2 million it would still be looped and wouldn't play off the jack. And they would never tell you anything technical about it, so even if you bought one and were kind of happy with it, you'd end up back here at PW speculating wildly with the rest of us.

#1930584 - 07/22/12 08:41 AM Re: New(ish) AvantGrand video [Re: dewster]  
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Originally Posted by dewster
Knowing Yamaha, even if they went to $2 million it would still be looped and wouldn't play off the jack. And they would never tell you anything technical about it, so even if you bought one and were kind of happy with it, you'd end up back here at PW speculating wildly with the rest of us.


So cynical!

Dewster, how old were you when you figured out Father Christmas didn't exist? I can picture you now - three years old sitting bolt upright in bed as your parents sneak into your room at midnight to dump a pillow case full of presents at the foot of the bed...

Infant Dewster: "I knew it! You complete frauds! I laid it on the line to you two time and time again, show me EVIDENCE of Santa! All that nonsense about behaving myself all year for Santa Claus. And don't try leaving money under my pillow when my teeth start falling out, I've already worked that one out!"

Why can't you just let Yamaha enrich our lives with their special kind of fairy dust? It would spoil it if we knew how they did it....

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