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Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
#2807992 01/28/19 07:54 PM
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I spent a few hours at a local piano dealer today playing the Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, and peripherally the Yamaha NU1X and Kawai CA78. Once again, I was the only customer on a weekday afternoon, so they were happy to let me loose to test what I liked and chat in-between. Here are a few thoughts on my visit:

I went in primarily to test the NWX action on the CLP-645, to help determine whether the P-515 (same action in a less-expensive slab) would be a worthy upgrade. For the second time, I found NWX pleasant but not exceptional; I could not feel the escapement at all.

I was impressed with the GrandTouch action on the CLP-685. I know this has been described on this forum as heavy, weird, etc., but it grew on me the more I played. Yamaha describes it as "firm and crisp" and that's exactly how it felt to me. It was easy to play close to the fallboard and escapement was distinct.

The dealer had a poster with a cross-section of the GrandTouch action, in comparison to the NWX/GH3 action on lesser Clavinovas. With the visible part of the white keys at 15 cm, I estimated NWX/GH3 at 21.5 cm and GrandTouch at 25.5 cm. Thus validating Yamaha's claim that the CLP-685 has the longest keys in a digital piano.

(Yamaha says that the length of GrandTouch keys is exactly the same as in their S3X acoustic grand. I checked this out and it seemed accurate.)

The pedal of the CLP-685 was better than that of the CLP-645, having a lighter feel at first touch, then heavier, just as in an acoustic grand. The CLP-645's pedal felt more linear, with seemingly less travel.

I did not focus as much on sound as I did on touch, and almost always used the default CFX concert grand voice, which I like.

Other pianos:
I briefly played the NU1X and liked its action with the clear escapement, but its keys were distinctly shorter than the CLP-685. Looked gorgeous in its polished ebony finish!
Also played the Kawai CA-78, the GF2 action of which I had loved on an earlier visit. The action is obviously completely different from the GT of the CLP-685, being much lighter, but I didn't care for Kawai's default piano sound.

The dealer is getting an N3X in a few weeks and will call me when it comes in, though he knows I'm not going to buy it. He feels that he might tempt me into an N1X (same action), which he offered to me at a discount from its MAP of $9,000 (MSRP $11,000). I told him that is unlikely, but will check it out, nevertheless. I think they like me coming in to enliven their day ... Ha!

The bottom line is that these are all good pianos; it's purely a matter of personal preference. As "oneilt130" said in a recent thread:
Originally Posted by oneilt130
... once you decide what features you want and have a list of DPs that fit those criteria nothing will replace going out and testing them, preferably multiple times. Then get the one that you feel the best at. For me it was the NU1X but for someone else it could be the Kawai CA98 or Roland LX708. One thing I do feel confident it saying is that there is no universally accepted "best for everyone" piano in this price range.

For reference, I played the following pieces to test:
Bach: Gavotte from French Suite 5, BWV 816
Mozart: Fantasia in D minor, K 397
Beethoven: Bagatelle in A minor, "Fur Elise"
Chopin: Nocturne, Op. 9-2

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Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Lotus1 #2808264 01/29/19 02:51 PM
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After thinking about it some more, I see what Yamaha has done with NWX. It is a lighter, more playable action than GH3X, which will please many people. No surprise that it is on the piano in the middle of the CLP range, the 645. I liked it but didn't love it. (Life would be easier if I loved it!)

On the other hand, GrandTouch is a more polarizing action. I found it precise and rewarding to play, more so as I got accustomed to it over the three hours at the store. But I can see how others could dislike the initial touch or weighting. My advice is to give it a chance for 15 minutes at least, even if your first reaction is negative.

GrandTouch is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Kawai's Grand Feel II, which is light and with a soft stop. While completely different, it is also a very nice action to play, perhaps more immediately loveable than its Yamaha competitor. I can see why it is so popular on this forum.

I will have to drive at least two hours each way to test Roland's PHA50 and new Hybrid Grand actions. Local piano stores only carry models with the lower-end PHA4 action. Why do manufacturers make it so difficult to compare? Oh for a Bonners in the US!

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Lotus1 #2808266 01/29/19 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Lotus1
Why do manufacturers make it so difficult to compare? Oh for a Bonners in the US!

+10,000

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Lotus1 #2808511 01/30/19 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Lotus1
After thinking about it some more, I see what Yamaha has done with NWX. It is a lighter, more playable action than GH3X, which will please many people. No surprise that it is on the piano in the middle of the CLP range, the 645. I liked it but didn't love it. (Life would be easier if I loved it!)

On the other hand, GrandTouch is a more polarizing action. I found it precise and rewarding to play, more so as I got accustomed to it over the three hours at the store. But I can see how others could dislike the initial touch or weighting. My advice is to give it a chance for 15 minutes at least, even if your first reaction is negative.

GrandTouch is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Kawai's Grand Feel II, which is light and with a soft stop. While completely different, it is also a very nice action to play, perhaps more immediately loveable than its Yamaha competitor. I can see why it is so popular on this forum.

I will have to drive at least two hours each way to test Roland's PHA50 and new Hybrid Grand actions. Local piano stores only carry models with the lower-end PHA4 action. Why do manufacturers make it so difficult to compare? Oh for a Bonners in the US!

Please keep us posted! I'm really curious what you will think of the Roland LX706-708 during your testing phase! laugh Make sure to try the European Grand V2 when you get to the store! Best of luck for you smile


www.youtube.com/channel/UC073i6RnxK4NcnoFp1jYh7Q The place where I ocasionally post my amateur recordings smile
Criticism is welcomed since it helps improving and going forward!

Yamaha P-105 -> Roland HP-605 -> Roland LX708
Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Lotus1 #2808544 01/30/19 08:31 AM
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The GrandTouch is really heavy without a doubt but I think people only describe it as being weird on the CLP-675 due to the lack of counterweights.


Yamaha AvantGrand N1X
Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Lotus1 #2815890 02/15/19 04:45 PM
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Today I had an opportunity to play CLP-685. I have to say it's an awful piano. Instead of enjoying music I was struggling with its keyboard all the time of playing. Its keyboard is so heavy that I would call it unplayable.
I advise strongly against this model.

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Iaroslav Vasiliev #2815911 02/15/19 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Today I had an opportunity to play CLP-685. I have to say it's an awful piano. Instead of enjoying music I was struggling with its keyboard all the time of playing. Its keyboard is so heavy that I would call it unplayable.
I advise strongly against this model.

Even the NWX needed a few weeks to grow on me. But now I won't go back to Kawai. smile


Richwood RD-17C-CE | LaMancha Rubi CM-N | Yamaha P-515
Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Lotus1 #2815970 02/15/19 07:45 PM
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I won’t for a second disagree that it is a very heavy action. However, it has greatly improved and eased my transition between practicing at home and transitioning to one of the several acoustics that I regularly play. As I am now used to it, it is a joy to play; I can articulate like I’ve never been able to before on a digital piano with purely digital action (i.e. not a hybrid).

This post definitely resonates with my own experience: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...o-gp-300-what-to-choose.html#Post2694398

Re: Thoughts on Yamaha CLP-645 and CLP-685, plus two others
Lotus1 #2816057 02/16/19 04:50 AM
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I think Yamahas actions NWX and GrandTouch need time to adjust to them and then they are rateable - when first playing 685 I immidiately stood up and left, more or less same with 645. But after a while I found out they are perfect for "playing with my whole body", which feels better to ME and allows ME to play more dynamically.

Me is in capitals because that is highly subjective and due to personal preferences. The ony one I could not get used to was the 675, I personally miss the counterweights.


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