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Clavinova's escapement simulation #2413587
04/24/15 03:36 PM
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I now have the CLP-585B although just found out that one cannot "play off of the jack" (in acoustic terminology) to produce a soft or "pp" (pianissimo) sound from the escapement point.

It is interesting to note that the only Clavinova in the past that had this feature was the CLP-990M (which I also own and is now 14 yrs. old) and all other models before and after up to the present time have not had the feature.

Question:

Shouldn't the latest models incorporate this?

Aside from the AvantGrand(s) no other Yamaha's have escapement simulation and can be "played from the jack" except for the CLP-990 from 2001.

Extra note:

Have already spoken directly with a Yamaha support person and have sent an email to request the feature as you would think it would have been added to the latest models.

Any comments?

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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413615
04/24/15 05:33 PM
04/24/15 05:33 PM
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You are going to get two opinions with little middle ground on this one.

Some will say that the escapement point is an unnecessary artifact of a real acoustic action and therefore has no business being added to a digital action. Why not go beyond the physical limitations of the real piano action and move towards developing a more ideal keyboard action (whatever that might be?)

Some will think this is a great feature because it brings a digital keyboard action as close as possible to the real thing.

I happen to think its a desirable feature because my keyboard is only a practice tool towards real performance on an acoustic. What would be nice outside of adding the physical aspect of the escapement point is to as far as possible simulate the kind of dynamic control you get from "playing off the jack" on the real thing. Despite what some may claim this is something that real pianists take advantage of to produce a quieter tone as well as voicing chords.


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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413628
04/24/15 06:35 PM
04/24/15 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pv88
Any comments?


You should have played the thing before buying it.


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413634
04/24/15 06:57 PM
04/24/15 06:57 PM
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Asking "Shouldn't the latest models incorporate this?" is like asking "Shouldn't lead be turned to gold?" ... or water to wine.

To the point, a digital piano "should" be a concert grand ... minus the strings.

But to the manufacturer, a digital piano should be (and is) whatever sells. And from that perspective, it appears there should be little change to what they sell today.

Yamaha has made better pianos before, and they've backed away. Real escapements won't buy market share.

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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413641
04/24/15 07:24 PM
04/24/15 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pv88
Any comments?


Focus your energies on enjoying the many things your new piano can do, rather than worrying about the few things it cannot.

James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413720
04/25/15 02:16 AM
04/25/15 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by pv88
Aside from the AvantGrand(s) no other Yamaha's have escapement simulation and can be "played from the jack" except for the CLP-990 from 2001.


The AvantGrands and the NU1 are the only Yamaha DPs that have a real escapement. Several other Yamaha DPs, including the CLP-585, have a simulated escapement. The simulation, as far as I know, is limited to a simple mechanism that reproduces the slight click that you feel at the let-off point when you depress the key very slowly. It does not reproduce what is, for me, the most important element of the feel of the real escapement, present at any dynamic level: the decrease in the resistance of the key to the finger that occurs just after the let-off point.

When I was shopping for a DP to be used as a practice instrument, I realised that the feeling of a real escapement was essential for me. That's why I ended up buying the NU1.






Steinway A grand (1919), Richard Lipp grand (1913), Yamaha P2 upright (1983), Casio PX-150 digital (2013)
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413724
04/25/15 02:34 AM
04/25/15 02:34 AM
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Apart from the technique of playing off the jack, the feel of escapement on an acoustic can be extremely disconcerting, and completely interfere with playing smoothly, to someone who learns on and plays almost exclusively on a DP. So if one intends to learn 'piano' with a view to playing acoustics then the presence of some simulation might be good. However none of the DP's I have ever tried have implemented anything more than a notch and miss the target IMHO. So I agree with MRC on this one.

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413732
04/25/15 03:43 AM
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Being no more than a recreational classical player I'm pretty sure that letoff simulation isn't going to be of any use to me - at least not as it's been simulated in the VPC1. Actually I'm pleased to note, if rumours are true, that GF2 incorporates a rather more subtle simulation effect. Hooray! - undetectable would suit me just fine. But while the claimed usefulness of 'playing off the jack' is still somewhat shrouded in mystery (no demos anywhere AFAICT) it continues to interest me.

Here are two excellent YT videos of letoff mechanisms for upright (from ~1:50) and grand (~1:40) piano actions resp.

When our letoff advocates talk about using it to improve pp to ppp (or other expressive elements?), would any of them be prepared to please attempt to explain what is going on with reference to those videos when a key is depressed and how this might produce such an improvement when compared with a DP action which has no letoff facility. How do you exploit letoff? I realise letoff results in a discontinuity in resistance which will be absent from the letoff-free DP action but why should a skilled DP player who's entirely DP-trained be any less capable of producing ppp even if this requires a different kind of execution?

Granted, advanced pianists who are shuttling back and forth between APs and DPs will want to keep perceived differences in action to a minimum but I'm still foxed by some claims here that letoff potentiates playing subtleties that cannot be achieved otherwise.

Can anyone sketch out the detailed dynamics of 'playing off the jack'? What does it get you?

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413746
04/25/15 05:24 AM
04/25/15 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by pv88
I now have the CLP-585B although just found out that one cannot "play off of the jack" (in acoustic terminology) to produce a soft or "pp" (pianissimo) sound from the escapement point.

It is interesting to note that the only Clavinova in the past that had this feature was the CLP-990M (which I also own and is now 14 yrs. old) and all other models before and after up to the present time have not had the feature.

Question:

Shouldn't the latest models incorporate this?

Aside from the AvantGrand(s) no other Yamaha's have escapement simulation and can be "played from the jack" except for the CLP-990 from 2001.

Extra note:

Have already spoken directly with a Yamaha support person and have sent an email to request the feature as you would think it would have been added to the latest models.

Any comments?


You only have a couple o` years before the CLP 600 series is launched. . . . You`re expecting everything at once!

I`m waiting for the day the DGX has a concert grand action and comes complete with a stool that goes up and down . .in Polished Ebony too, of course. That would match the computer printer . . .


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: dire tonic] #2413817
04/25/15 09:46 AM
04/25/15 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dire tonic
Can anyone sketch out the detailed dynamics of 'playing off the jack'? What does it get you?

I think it goes like this: Pressing a key to the letoff point moves the hammer closer to the string. Because of this, actually playing the key from there imparts less total kinetic energy to the hammer than if you were playing the hammer from rest. The letoff point is something players can feel, so voila, you have a potential method of more finely controlling lower dynamics, which are difficult to control on a piano as there is a sharp threshold below which the hammer won't make it to the string, the result of which (no sound) is generally highly undesirable.

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: dire tonic] #2413840
04/25/15 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by dire tonic

When our letoff advocates talk about using it to improve pp to ppp (or other expressive elements?), would any of them be prepared to please attempt to explain what is going on with reference to those videos when a key is depressed and how this might produce such an improvement when compared with a DP action which has no letoff facility. How do you exploit letoff? I realise letoff results in a discontinuity in resistance which will be absent from the letoff-free DP action but why should a skilled DP player who's entirely DP-trained be any less capable of producing ppp even if this requires a different kind of execution?


If you can achieve a pianissimo sound by playing the key from the let-off point (playing off the jack, I believe the pros call it) and if the piano is extremely well set up and regulated, this would give the pianist a way to obtain extremely consistent and smooth sub-pp passages, I suppose. More than if there were no reference point, which the let off would be in this case.



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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413869
04/25/15 12:22 PM
04/25/15 12:22 PM
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Are we missing the point though? The feeling of the escapement is an unavoidable (and undesirable) consequence of the grand piano action. It's a necessary evil. If there was a way to incorporate the same mechanical characteristics such as the very fast repetition possible with a grand piano action but eliminate the little click/notch that's exactly what someone would do.

On DPs the notch feeling is created by part of the action brushing past a tiny flap of rubber on the downstroke. It's entirely fake. Yes, it mimics a grand piano. But it is also mimicking something undesirable. Another thing they could do would be to make a DP go steadily out of tune over a period of a few months. That is also an inevitable and undesirable characteristic of an acoustic piano. Any takers for that?

To obsess over the escapement simulation seems rather daft to me, especially as on a DP action it is not the product of a necessary mechanical characteristic.


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413873
04/25/15 12:33 PM
04/25/15 12:33 PM
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I'm entirely with you Ess. Putting escapement on a digital piano is like putting an ice maker on a motorcycle. It's pointless.

Even less than pointless because it's not even an escapement. It's just a clicker.

Now, the Avant Grand has a real grand action, and I presume it has functioning escapement. And I'm told that the AG uses optical sensors, rather than the rubber pads found in other digitals. But I don't see how the escapement would have any effect how the piano behaves. So what's the point?

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: EssBrace] #2413876
04/25/15 12:37 PM
04/25/15 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dewster
[quote=EssBrace]Are we missing the point though? The feeling of the escapement is an unavoidable (and undesirable) consequence of the grand piano action. It's a necessary evil.

I suppose it all depends on how much one values "playing off the jack" on their AP - those that do so likely desire their DP to behave the same way.

A flight simulator is 100% fake, but you want certain aspects to feel as close to the real thing as possible so as to glean the maximum possible training experience from it. But you don't want it to actually kill you in a crash. Similarly, no one wants their DP drifting out of tune or developing sticky keys.

All simulations are in many respects quite idealized, sometimes that's good, sometimes not.

If you are arguing for improved keyboard actions, perhaps detached from troublesome AP legacy issues that have zero redeeming value, I'm 100% with you there.

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: EssBrace] #2413886
04/25/15 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Are we missing the point though?


Not if, as I said above, the notches are smooth across the board and that they represent the lowest point at which a pianissimo could be played. If these criteria apply, the notch can be a useful reference point to an experienced player, even if it does not owe its initial existence to anything of such immediate practical value to the pianist.


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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: toddy] #2413891
04/25/15 01:12 PM
04/25/15 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by EssBrace
Are we missing the point though?


Not if, as I said above, the notches are smooth across the board and that they represent the lowest point at which a pianissimo could be played. If these criteria apply, the notch can be a useful reference point to an experienced player, even if it does not owe its initial existence to anything of such immediate practical value to the pianist.


Yes, I do take your point. But I still say that if it were possible to design a grand piano action but without the tangible feeling of the let off point, that's the way it would be. And we wouldn't be having this conversation.


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413895
04/25/15 01:19 PM
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EssBrace rejoined: But I still say that if it were possible to design a grand piano action but without the tangible feeling of the let off point, that's the way it would be. And we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Yes, I agree. I think anyone with an ounce of common sense will agree with that. It's hardly an issue at all really. It's a curiosity. A trifle. A bauble of a problem.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: toddy] #2413903
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Originally Posted by toddy

Yes, I agree. I think anyone with an ounce of common sense will agree with that. It's hardly an issue at all really. It's a curiosity. A trifle. A bauble of a problem.


You are prone to exaggeration, I think. Why would it be anyone's goal to remove it from an acoustic action? And why tie it to "common sense"? Escapement doesn't seem to bother anyone - it's been there for a 150 years and many astonishing players have achieved dazzling displays of technical control and wizardry using this action. And furthermore, some players have found a way to exploit it for greater control.

The assumption that it's something that would be eliminated if it were possible is just that, an assumption. There's no supporting evidence for that assumption however - nothing more than a pseudo-logical belief that "smoother" is better. But maybe it isn't - why assume so and stake somebody's "common sense" on it? There's also no evidence that piano action makers have tried to eliminate it, but couldn't. It's just there, doesn't hurt anyone, no need to read so much into it. The idea that DP players would receive some great advantage by not having the escapement simulation is the biggest assumption at all. Give me one reason why anybody would turn out a better performance through the elimination of an escapement simulation.

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: ando] #2413909
04/25/15 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
Give me one reason why anybody would turn out a better performance through the elimination of an escapement simulation.


Because it would never have been put in there in the first place.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / Native Instruments K9 ult / ESQL MOR2 Symph Orchestra & Choirs / Lucato & Parravicini , trumpets & saxes / Garritan CFX lite / Production Voices C7 & Steinway D compact

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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: toddy] #2413912
04/25/15 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by ando
Give me one reason why anybody would turn out a better performance through the elimination of an escapement simulation.


Because it would never have been put in there in the first place.


That's not an answer. Explain how that little notch is hindering the performance of real pianists. You already alluded to how it might be exploited to advantage, but for your "ounce of common sense" comment to have any validity, you need to explain how it actually hurts somebody's performance.

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413915
04/25/15 02:01 PM
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We don't know if the notch hinders performance because we've never heard a grand piano played that doesn't have the notch.


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: EssBrace] #2413920
04/25/15 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
We don't know if the notch hinders performance because we've never heard a grand piano played that doesn't have the notch.


But we have seen DPs have the notch, and not have the notch. Does anyone actually believe it hurt their performing skills when the notch appeared?

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413921
04/25/15 02:13 PM
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You may be right. But the kind of nuanced difference we are talking about is probably beyond the relatively coarse resolution of a DP to make any difference. To my mind it is counter-intuitive to suggest that the better action wouldn't be entirely smooth and linear all the way down.


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413925
04/25/15 02:16 PM
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Ando, maybe you are right, and I'm prone to exaggeration - or at least excessive endorsements.

You see, Essbrace and I argued from differing standpoints at first and then (I think) came to pretty much an agreement about the whole thing. It was a bit of a relief to be honest - hence the possibly exaggerated agreement.

But I still say it's a bauble of a problem. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, of course. Per se.


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Reaper / Native Instruments K9 ult / ESQL MOR2 Symph Orchestra & Choirs / Lucato & Parravicini , trumpets & saxes / Garritan CFX lite / Production Voices C7 & Steinway D compact

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Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: toddy] #2413929
04/25/15 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by toddy
You see, Essbrace and I argued from differing standpoints at first and then (I think) came to pretty much an agreement about the whole thing.


I think we did. And it gave me a warm feeling!


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: EssBrace] #2413939
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Are we missing the point though? The feeling of the escapement is an unavoidable (and undesirable) consequence of the grand piano action. It's a necessary evil. If there was a way to incorporate the same mechanical characteristics such as the very fast repetition possible with a grand piano action but eliminate the little click/notch that's exactly what someone would do.


That little click which is only felt when depressing a key very slowly is not the only thing that defines the feel of a real escapement. The most important feature for me, as I said before, is the decrease in the resistance of the key to the finger that occurs just after the let-off point. This decrease in resistance is present all all dynamic levels.

In all the digital actions I have tried, there is no decrease in resistance to the finger after the let-off point: you never get that feeling of having thrown the hammer at the string. In the terminology of acoustic pianos, the distance traveled by the key from the let-off point to the key bed is called "aftertouch" (not to be confused with "aftertouch" on a digital keyboard). Changing the depth of the aftertouch can make a considerable difference to the feel of an acoustic action (see for instance this thread).


Steinway A grand (1919), Richard Lipp grand (1913), Yamaha P2 upright (1983), Casio PX-150 digital (2013)
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413948
04/25/15 03:18 PM
04/25/15 03:18 PM
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pv88 Offline OP
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Bottom line:

My opinion is that I could really care less either way as to whether or not Yamaha will end up adding a simulated "playing off of the jack" feature into their Clavinova line as I certainly will never make use of it.

Have found that Yamaha has been inconsistent with their product features when the CLP-990M is the only Clavinova that ever had this "playing off of the jack" feature and even so it is only a simulation and doesn't even come close to what an acoustic can do.

The CLP-585's escapement is barely noticeable which for me is okay as I have only pointed out to Yamaha that they haven't done enough to make this feature realistic in actual playing qualifications.

I actually happened to prefer the smooth stroke better (without escapement simulation) on the previous CLP-480 as the click-feel is simply pointless, otherwise.

Current sounds on the CLP-585 are so-so compared with the CLP-480 and one can now hear three new recordings here if anyone is interested:

Re: New Clavinova CLP-585 & recordings

Appears that no one gives a rat's *** in regards to the recordings posted from the new CLP-585 so take a listen and post some ******* comments.

Everyone must be playing their cheap (and soon to end up in a land fill) $500 digitals.

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413959
04/25/15 03:42 PM
04/25/15 03:42 PM
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I don't buy the claim that the escapement is an "undesirable" artifact that we just can't get out of grand piano actions, for at least two reasons.

First (and most importantly), it's a reference point. It's like the little bump on the F and J keys on your keyboard which let you know where your fingers are placed without having to look, or the notch in the middle of the ribbon pitch bend on a Motif or Roland AX Synth, or the notch right in the center on old stereo hi-fi system knobs: it let's the user very precisely know where a very important milestone is. I am by no means an expert concert pianist, but if expert concert pianists really do use the feeling of the let-off point to perform certain notes a particular way, then why on earth would anyone want to call it undesirable, let alone change it? The proof that it isn't undesirable is in the very definition of the word, as it sounds to me as if a good number of concert pianists really do desire it very much!

Second, if it were truly undesirable, then surely someone would have tried to eliminate it by now. In 2015 I am certain that if a piano manufacturer really wanted to redesign the action to eliminate the let-off feel while maintaining the rest of the functionality, they could have - but nobody's tried. Instrument manufacturers have over the years introduced a variety of technological updates to instruments which either became the standard or at least a common option, like the duplex scale. If this was really a desirable quality, surely Steinway or Yamaha or any number of other manufacturers would have had some marketing to advertise "same grand piano action, no let-off feel!" But they haven't.

Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: pv88] #2413988
04/25/15 06:04 PM
04/25/15 06:04 PM
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EssBrace Online content
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Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,572
Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted by pv88
Appears that no one gives a rat's *** in regards to the recordings posted from the new CLP-585 so take a listen and post some ******* comments.

Everyone must be playing their cheap (and soon to end up in a land fill) $500 digitals.


Here's a ******* comment:

I prefer the CLP-990. I'm not 100% sure but I believe you may own a CLP-990?


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Clavinova's escapement simulation [Re: EssBrace] #2413994
04/25/15 06:24 PM
04/25/15 06:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,348
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Online content
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Kawai James  Online Content
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,348
Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted by pv88
My opinion is that I could really care less either way as to whether or not Yamaha will end up adding a simulated "playing off of the jack" feature into their Clavinova line as I certainly will never make use of it.


Then why go to the trouble of starting this thread, or contacting Yamaha to report the 'problem'?
Also, this.

Originally Posted by EssBrace
I prefer the CLP-990. I'm not 100% sure but I believe you may own a CLP-990?


No Steve, I believe he sold the CLP-990 to buy the CA95.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
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