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Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
#2546076 06/03/16 04:06 PM
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Thought I"d give a quick resume of my time with the N2 so far..

I bought the N2 in November last year from Yamaha London. After a while I noticed a bit of a problem with trying to play repeated legato notes (playing off the jack in an acoustic) - and also what I felt was an overly hard touch. This then resulted in a visit, initially by an electronic engineer, and then at my insistence, by the same engineer together with a piano technician (well it is a hybrid after all!).

Despite the technician evening out the touch (adjusting let-off and hammer drop etc.), the legato problem wasn't improved. At this point, I was up for getting my money back and replacing with another DP. After doing the rounds again of all the latest DPs, I was reluctant to give up on the N2, and therefore made one last check by playing two further N2s in the London showroom. One of them was much better - both in terms of getting closer to repeated legato, and also in terms of overall touch.

I therefore agreed with Yamaha London (all credit to them to be honest), to exchange my brand new model, for this one that had been in their showroom for a couple of months. The moral of this story, is that just like acoustic pianos, hybrids can vary between examples of the same model.

After some 6 months now, I can summarise some of my personal feelings/experiences about the N2:

- still the most realistic touch amongst all DPs I've tried (though the key bedding is a little too 'hard')
- the best sound (both headphones and speakers) amongst all the DPs I've tried (I think it was Dave Horne who said you never get bored of the sound like you do with others....in my case I find the base of most other DPs (with the notable exception of the new Casios) rather tedious after a while)
- the N2 is embarrassingly out-of-date (no .wav recording, only able to record one track to internal memory, little customisation potential)
- it has a problem with the sustain pedal (increases/changes the sound level half-way through a note if pressed half-way through the note)
- the una corde pedal has very limited effect (am currently trying to get an engineer visit to see if this can be improved...)
- as with most DPs, the sustain of individual notes is too short (I have to play with Reverb at max)
- a couple of notes e.g. B4 have poor recorded unisons
- reverb/key sensitivity have to be set up each time you start

Would I buy one again?... Not sure to be honest. If I had a really good laptop and could get to sample a few set-ups, I might be tempted to go the VPC1 + good VST route - but part of me just doesn't want to go down that road which never ends....

If anyone's interested, I've uploaded a few more tracks to my Soundcloud account which are a good showcase for the N2's naked sound e.g. Chopin Scherzo no 2 (recorded direct from line-out). Please excuse the playing.

Soundcloud



Last edited by Chris Warren; 06/03/16 04:10 PM.
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Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2546082 06/03/16 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Warren
- the best sound (both headphones and speakers) amongst all the DPs I've tried (I think it was Dave Horne who said you never get bored of the sound like you do with others....in my case I find the base of most other DPs (with the notable exception of the new Casios) rather tedious after a while)
I'm glad you like it - the sound of my N1 (which should be rather similar through headphones) is not to my liking at all, though I agree 100% with your other observations.

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2546161 06/04/16 12:12 AM
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Hi, Chris. I play the N3 often. It is without a doubt the best feeling digital piano to play due to its action. Nothing else compares at the moment. I assume the N2 has the same action? The amplifier and speakers are also more robust on the N3. The vibration they've put under the keys, tactile response system I think they call it, feels great and correct or what you would expect an acoustic to feel like. The sampled sounds, sound engine so to speak is not as advanced as some other choices we may have at the moment - particularly when it comes to software pianos. I think it is worth considering simply using MIDI or MIDI over USB to a laptop and running something like Synthogy Ivory for your recordings. I would not be so quick to walk away from the Avant Grande action - particularly when it's so easy today to use MIDI and select your sampled or modeled pianos of choice.

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2546179 06/04/16 02:49 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. As a practice tool the Yamaha hybrids are the ones to have, and the N2 would be for me if they at least halved the price. At the current price a modern upright beats it hands down, even the action, for example a K500. But not everyone can home an acoustic.

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2546201 06/04/16 07:38 AM
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Thanks for this detailed review, it's really interesting to read. I played an AvantGrand only once (at a trial lesson with a teacher who used that as his lesson piano) but at the time I didn't have an acoustic at home, I only had a Yamaha YDP Arius 160, so of course my main impression was that it was a massively better instrument compared to my digital. (Sorry for stating the obvious!)

ETA: I just checked online, what I played was an N3.

But it's really interesting to hear your impressions after playing it for 6 months. At first I was thinking "gee for a much as the AvantGrands cost, you'd want it to be much better overall." I've thought at various times that I might some day want to get an AvantGrand, but your post was making me think, "well, maybe not!"

But then I started to think about all the pianos I've owned and played over the years, and of course there's pretty much no such thing as a perfect instrument. -- I still have my Arius and I've recently acquired a used upright that's about 30 years old, neither of these are perfect instruments but they are the instruments I have at my disposal, so of course, that brings them much closer to being perfect instruments than any others!

The question is whether the trade offs and the ways the instrument is less than perfect make it worth it for the money. Given how expensive the AvantGrands are, I guess from where I sit the jury is still out on that question.

I'm sorry to ramble, but mainly I just wantd to say that I enjoyed reading your impressions and there's a lot of food for thought here.

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 06/04/16 07:47 AM.

Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2546348 06/04/16 06:13 PM
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Chris, I'm guessing from the recordings you made that the reverb was on the default setting. Is that correct?



website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Dave Horne #2546431 06/05/16 12:31 AM
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Hi Dave - reverb was set on max at 20

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2546465 06/05/16 04:53 AM
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Chris, the piano sounded fine. When I first turn on my N3 I set the reverb to 20. I wouldn't mind having even more reverb.


website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2547258 06/07/16 11:45 AM
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I'm not a big fan of the N2 sound. But using the N2 as a controller for Pianoteq through headphones is great. The sustain pedal problem goes away. The una corda problem, the heavy touch problem both go away. And dynamic expression is vastly improved. I think the N3 and N2 AGs came out in 2008. It's time for a refresh of the line.


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2547268 06/07/16 12:03 PM
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The N1 manual is copyrighted 2010 (see last page). The Avantgrand pianos replace GranTouch pianos whose the manual is copyrighted 1998. If the Avantgrands last as long as the GranTouch, we may have a successor near 2022 !


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2547273 06/07/16 12:09 PM
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The N1 came out a year or two after the N2 and N3, actually. So perhaps 2020-2021? grin

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
kippesc #2548422 06/11/16 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kippesc
I'm not a big fan of the N2 sound. But using the N2 as a controller for Pianoteq through headphones is great. The sustain pedal problem goes away. The una corda problem, the heavy touch problem both go away. And dynamic expression is vastly improved. I think the N3 and N2 AGs came out in 2008. It's time for a refresh of the line.


Is the una corda problem that it has no effect? I cannot discern any noticeable effect. I'm hoping that there's something that can be adjusted electronically ...(by an engineer)

Last edited by Chris Warren; 06/11/16 03:37 AM.
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2548426 06/11/16 02:56 AM
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The una corda has a significant effect on the N1, but it feels more like a damping of the sound than a true una corda (and of course the keyboard doesn't move). In any case, it's not adjustable electronically.

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2549252 06/14/16 04:38 AM
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Yamaha have a restyling of disklavier series in this year.
Disklavier ENSPIRE, the 7th generation of Disklavier pianos
I guess a similar situation about Avantgrand series.

and I guess Avantgrand needs a regulation in once every 2-4 years by piano tuner.
hammer height key height ,key depth,let off stop,drop spring,and after touch .
Hammer ,key and pedal sensor level check and do the maintenance program in need.

https://goo.gl/photos/9cN7Rx3LjrY46maL9


--------------------------------------
Pro-TAC tuning and repair service.
pro-tac.jpn.org/
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Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2549391 06/14/16 02:03 PM
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Chris,

You've pretty much summed up all the problems I had with my N1 which I ended up selling 7 months after I bought it. I also had a tech attempt to adjust the touch, with little effect.

Although I loved the action of the piano, I felt that the sound didn't fully maximize what the action was capable of. In addition, the poor sustain really bothered me and made the piano sound thin. I too, always played it on reverb 15-20 to try and compensate for how quickly the notes died out.

I also found the speakers of the N1 to be very poor, with almost no bass impact and a very flat sounding lower mid to bass in terms of sound quality. This is probably not the case for your N2 since it has better speakers.

It was not easy to use a VST with the piano either, and based on what I've read (I didn't try), it was quite a hassle to get the VST sound back into the speakers. In the end, I just felt it wasn't worth the money I paid for it, and ended up selling it and using the funds plus some to get a C3 which I am satisfied with.

Although the N1 is a very good digital piano, to me, it wasn't the experience I was looking for. I don't think any digital piano that I've tried really even came close to meeting my expectations, but I did grow up on acoustic pianos and that's what I'm used to. I don't mind playing digitals at all, and do quite often, but when I'm working on a piece or seriously performing a piece, I really prefer an acoustic which no digital is able to substitute for me (yet).


Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2549395 06/14/16 02:14 PM
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Could you be more precise with the hassle to get the VST sound back into the speakers? I don't know the Avantgrand, but it shouldn't be more complicated than plugging each jack (L and R) to right inputs.

I suppose the local control off mode need in look in the manual to be found.


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Chris Warren #2549444 06/14/16 06:04 PM
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Turning local control off is very easy. It means holding down the control button + one key (C7, IIRC). The feeding of a normal, 2-channel stereo analogue input into the AG's 5 (or more) channel system in a satisfactory way may well be a different question... even if Yamaha provides L+R 6.3 mm line-in sockets.

FWIW, I suspect that the N1 sound system is quite sensitive to rear wall reinforcement; mine is near a corner in the room, against one solid wall at the rear, and the bass is quite good if in no way as powerful as that of a good sized grand. On the other hand, mid and treble I find sharp and quite strident.

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Frédéric L #2549457 06/14/16 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
Could you be more precise with the hassle to get the VST sound back into the speakers? I don't know the Avantgrand, but it shouldn't be more complicated than plugging each jack (L and R) to right inputs.

I suppose the local control off mode need in look in the manual to be found.


There were reports of a noise gate being permanently applied to the line inputs - which meant that the decay of the VST instrument could be affected. That is, the note would not decay all the way to zero. The noise gate would reach a threshold and then cut off the input. I'm not sure if that applied to every N1 or just the first batch. There were a few guys saying they hated it and that it couldn't be turned off.

Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
ando #2549548 06/14/16 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ando

There were reports of a noise gate being permanently applied to the line inputs - which meant that the decay of the VST instrument could be affected. That is, the note would not decay all the way to zero. The noise gate would reach a threshold and then cut off the input. I'm not sure if that applied to every N1 or just the first batch. There were a few guys saying they hated it and that it couldn't be turned off.


This is what I read, and the instructions were much too complicated for me to try. Also I heard some reports saying they blended the VST with the internal sound somehow, I'm not sure if that was through external speakers or the piano's speakers.

My N1 was against a wall, also I had walls within 2 feet on both sides as well. I had it placed in this recessed slot in the wall, but I found the bass response and depth to be very poor. Way worse than a tall (48-52 inch) upright. I also owned the U3 at one point and the bass was significantly better than the N1. However, the problem doesn't exist with headphones, which is what I ended up playing it with 90% of the time.


Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)
Re: Avantgrand N2 - 6 months on
Michiyo-Fir #2549784 06/15/16 09:08 PM
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I spent another half hour today going between the N3,2 and 1.

I really feel the *one* for me would be the N2. I liked it better then the N3 actually. I was feeling something weird, a vibration, coming up through the sustain pedal and into the keybed with the N3.

The N1 speaker sound and overall look doesn't appeal to me as much as the N2. Basically I like everything about the N2 with the exception of the price. grin

I could try bargaining off the the store's list or there are some used out of state N2s available- both private party and Yamaha dealer. But that comes with the added expense of moving (I had one quote of $1600) and the question mark of not playing it beforehand. And private party out of state scares me a bit. I've just been bitten once on a private party deal here in LA on CL with a studio mic.

Might just wait on it and continue my high repetitious, drill-like practice of transposing jazz lines and chord voicings to all 12 keys on the CP5.

But, again, I do love the N2. Though I might just have to settle with an upgrade to the Senn HD650s. grin


https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D
Yamaha CP4
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