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Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: vara411] #2880026
08/15/19 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by vara411
Originally Posted by robinlb
Originally Posted by Pete14
There’s also the GC1 TA2 as a cheaper alternative to the C1X TA2.
Also, regarding the N3X “soundboard”, can we really call it a soundboard? It seems more like a gimmick as compared to a real soundboard, or even compared to the Kawai soundboard/speaker system.


Socalled soundboard on N3x is only a vibrator that transmit some feelings to player, not real soundboard speaker on TA2/Aures or Kawai CA/CS.
I agree upright models like GC1TA2 or K500Aures also in the opinional range.
Of course, C1x/C3X TA2 more better.


Incorrect. The N3X does indeed have an actual soundboard, AND transducers that vibrate the keybed (mostly applicable with headphone use). I do echo everyone's sentiments about not bothering with the N3X if 90% of playing will be with headphones. The binaural CFX sampling sounds great on my N3X, but is that enough to trade up two pianos? Hmm... not so sure.


This socalled soundboard with transducer is only a vibrating simulator, I don't think it's a real soundboard as a functional loudspeaker in piano.
For TA2 and Aures, there are no normal speakers and full soundboard driven by transducer to make a sound.
Of course, Yamaha called it soundboard, it's OK for marketing.


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Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: robinlb] #2880057
08/16/19 02:39 AM
08/16/19 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by robinlb
This socalled soundboard with transducer is only a vibrating simulator, I don't think it's a real soundboard as a functional loudspeaker in piano.
For TA2 and Aures, there are no normal speakers and full soundboard driven by transducer to make a sound.
Of course, Yamaha called it soundboard, it's OK for marketing.

What is different in function and form between the N3X soundboard and a “real soundboard”? Both are made of wood and both transmit sound. Please elaborate.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Patrick Cox] #2880060
08/16/19 02:57 AM
08/16/19 02:57 AM
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I’ve tested N3 and CS11 side by side in a big German store some years ago. The sound from the CS11 was the typical Kawai bass-boomy mess. Needless to say N3 was the best digital piano I’ve ever played (not only in terms of touch but also) in terms of sound through speakers. It probably still is, bar N3X which I haven’t tried. Why should I care what a “proper” soundboard is when one piano sounds like a real acoustic piano and the other like an electronically amplified audio product.

Last edited by CyberGene; 08/16/19 02:57 AM.

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Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Patrick Cox] #2880092
08/16/19 06:02 AM
08/16/19 06:02 AM
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So what good is a soundboard?

An acoustic has strings driving the soundboard. A digital has a 'ducer driving a soundboard.
So why bother having a soundboard if there are no strings, and only a 'ducer?
Let the 'ducer drive a cone ... as in "a speaker" ... and thereby do its own job properly, rather than doing a job it wasn't meant for?

Anyway ... I wasn't impressed by the CA98 soundboard.

Yes, the CA98 sounds better than its sister model that lacks the soundboard.
But only in that the latter sounds dull. It just needs some air. Some treble. Fixable with a proper speaker. No soundboard needed.

Is the soundboard just a means of obtaining "authenticity"? Or does it only produce "fake authenticity"? (How's that for an oxymoron?)

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: MacMacMac] #2880094
08/16/19 06:11 AM
08/16/19 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
So what good is a soundboard?

An acoustic has strings driving the soundboard. A digital has a 'ducer driving a soundboard.
So why bother having a soundboard if there are no strings, and only a 'ducer?
Let the 'ducer drive a cone ... as in "a speaker" ... and thereby do its own job properly, rather than doing a job it wasn't meant for?

Anyway ... I wasn't impressed by the CA98 soundboard.

Yes, the CA98 sounds better than its sister model that lacks the soundboard.
But only in that the latter sounds dull. It just needs some air. Some treble. Fixable with a proper speaker. No soundboard needed.

Is the soundboard just a means of obtaining "authenticity"? Or does it only produce "fake authenticity"? (How's that for an oxymoron?)

If I didn't use headphones most of the time as I do, then I'd only care if it sounded more authentic (I mean who cares if it looks authentic or behaves authentically - it's "inside the box")


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: CyberGene] #2880097
08/16/19 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I’ve tested N3 and CS11 side by side in a big German store some years ago. The sound from the CS11 was the typical Kawai bass-boomy mess. Needless to say N3 was the best digital piano I’ve ever played (not only in terms of touch but also) in terms of sound through speakers. It probably still is, bar N3X which I haven’t tried. Why should I care what a “proper” soundboard is when one piano sounds like a real acoustic piano and the other like an electronically amplified audio product.


Money and space aside, would you prefer the N3 over your N1X?
Assuming you were to play it (hypothetically) through speakers only.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2880099
08/16/19 06:28 AM
08/16/19 06:28 AM
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I feel the same way.
I don't care about the specs.
I don't care if it has a DAC with 8 bits or 16 bits or 33 and 1/3 bits.
I don't care if the sound is produced by a squirrel running on a treadmill (so long as he doesn't leave droppings).
I only care about the results.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
If I didn't use headphones most of the time as I do, then I'd only care if it sounded more authentic (I mean who cares if it looks authentic or behaves authentically - it's "inside the box")
... but I'd apply this thinking with or without headphones.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2880104
08/16/19 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by robinlb
This socalled soundboard with transducer is only a vibrating simulator, I don't think it's a real soundboard as a functional loudspeaker in piano.
For TA2 and Aures, there are no normal speakers and full soundboard driven by transducer to make a sound.
Of course, Yamaha called it soundboard, it's OK for marketing.

What is different in function and form between the N3X soundboard and a “real soundboard”? Both are made of wood and both transmit sound. Please elaborate.


The difference is that sound is coming from Normal speakers on N3x, and socalled soundboard is only transmit vibration to player even in silent mode by wearing headphone. It's only an experimental function for DP player.
But TA2 or Aures only use soundboard to produce sound by transducers. This is completely different.
We known, the soundboard is a loudspeaker for acoustic piano, TA2 or Aures is just simulating this special give out sound way, and can produce more natural sound than cone speakers.
It will represent an effective way for DP. That's why I recommend TA2 for the topic.


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Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: MacMacMac] #2880106
08/16/19 06:45 AM
08/16/19 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
So what good is a soundboard?

An acoustic has strings driving the soundboard. A digital has a 'ducer driving a soundboard.
So why bother having a soundboard if there are no strings, and only a 'ducer?
Let the 'ducer drive a cone ... as in "a speaker" ... and thereby do its own job properly, rather than doing a job it wasn't meant for?

Anyway ... I wasn't impressed by the CA98 soundboard.

Yes, the CA98 sounds better than its sister model that lacks the soundboard.
But only in that the latter sounds dull. It just needs some air. Some treble. Fixable with a proper speaker. No soundboard needed.

Is the soundboard just a means of obtaining "authenticity"? Or does it only produce "fake authenticity"? (How's that for an oxymoron?)

Yep, it's a fake-ducer. A real soundboard functions not just by being a large surface area with a ribbed back and something shaking it. A real soundboard has crown, and down-bearing from tons of pressure from the strings. The board gets its response from the impedance derived from the crown being constrained by these large down bearing forces. The Kawai fake-ducer is not loaded in the correct way. It is more "suspended" - meaning it is low impedance, where a real soundboard is high impedance. The only constraint the fake-ducer has is the transducers which are point sources constraining the board at 1 (or 2, I think, depending on the model) point locations. A real soundboard has bridges traversing its entire width, which constrains the board and couples it properly to the mechanical vibrations.

So yeah, I'm going with fake. Even Kawai is admitting its fake because it needs a bunch of extra speakers to supplement its range. By their own admission, the soundboard is not a full range speaker - yet a real soundboard is full range. I call it a gimmick. Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates. I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up. Having played the Kawai models with soundboard, I don't think there is anything useful at play there except the speaker system - which is different to the models without soundboard anyway, making it impossible to attribute anything specific to the soundboard.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: ando] #2880108
08/16/19 06:53 AM
08/16/19 06:53 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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Originally Posted by ando
Yep, it's a fake-ducer. A real soundboard functions not just by being a large surface area with a ribbed back and something shaking it. A real soundboard has crown, and down-bearing from tons of pressure from the strings. The board gets its response from the impedance derived from the crown being constrained by these large down bearing forces. The Kawai fake-ducer is not loaded in the correct way. It is more "suspended" - meaning it is low impedance, where a real soundboard is high impedance. The only constraint the fake-ducer has is the transducers which are point sources constraining the board at 1 (or 2, I think, depending on the model) point locations. A real soundboard has bridges traversing its entire width, which constrains the board and couples it properly to the mechanical vibrations.

So yeah, I'm going with fake. Even Kawai is admitting its fake because it needs a bunch of extra speakers to supplement its range. By their own admission, the soundboard is not a full range speaker - yet a real soundboard is full range. I call it a gimmick. Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates. I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up. Having played the Kawai models with soundboard, I don't think there is anything useful at play there except the speaker system - which is different to the models without soundboard anyway, making it impossible to attribute anything specific to the soundboard.

It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company, Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2880109
08/16/19 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company, Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.

I'm sure it could be done, but it isn't being done by Kawai.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2880112
08/16/19 07:34 AM
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Is the soundboard of this Resonance Piano and better than that of the Kawai?
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company., Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.
Is a soundboard made by a real Italian piano soundboard company better than one made by a real Japanese piano soundboard company?

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Patrick Cox] #2880179
08/16/19 09:48 AM
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Just for completeness' sake: It is possible to make a soundboard work with a transducer, but not with the rigid tall-rib design that Kawai is using. If you aren't using heavy down-bearing coupled with the tall-rib design, you need to use a lighter soundboard construction which is either ribless or lightly ribbed and low/no down-bearing. Steingraeber is doing some interesting things with soundboards and transducers. The Kawai design is designed for marketing purposes to resemble the back of an upright piano. It looks convincing, but it isn't effective as a sound producing element.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Patrick Cox] #2880252
08/16/19 12:37 PM
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Haven't heard anything further from the OP... has this helped at all, Patrick Cox?

10,000 foot view: I absolutely love my N3X. It's the best digital piano I've ever played and heard... but that doesn't mean it's a good fit for YOU, especially if you use headphones the vast majority of the time. Let us know what you decide.


Yamaha AvantGrand N3X
Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2880254
08/16/19 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ando

It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company, Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.


The piano cabinet is gorgeous... but incorporating the digital keyboard into said design falls flat, as you can see in this video:

https://youtu.be/sjblX8wOm3s?t=123


Yamaha AvantGrand N3X
Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: vara411] #2880256
08/16/19 12:50 PM
08/16/19 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by vara411
I absolutely love my N3X. It's the best digital piano I've ever played and heard...


After my A (N3)- B (N3X) - C (N2) comparison at Keyboard Concepts, I would agree. The N3X is the most inspiring I've played and heard. Again, the closest to a quality acoustic grand experience.


The N1X is very good too. Worth a consideration.


https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

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Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Patrick Cox] #2880272
08/16/19 01:43 PM
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Wow, seems like I really stirred something up! 😂

Sorry I’m just now replying. I got busy and then I am now on a trip to NYC. I just had the chance to play an N3X at Faust. It is definitely a very nice instrument. I enjoyed the touch and then the extra sounds are nice to have. I know I can add sounds to my N2 with a computer but I’m not sure I want to get into all of that. It was hard for me to tell how much different the action was from my N2 though. I want to say the keys were just a bit more responsive but since they weren’t side by side I’m not sure.

Even though I mostly play with headphones, my reasoning for thinking about trading my acoustic and N2 is I really don’t play my acoustic as much as I should to hold onto it so my thought is I can have one piano that will do well with headphones and without and it is more current technology.

So thanks for the comments. I’ll probably play that N3X again and exercise it a bit more.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: ando] #2880273
08/16/19 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates.


Yamaha's specs (https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/pianos/avantgrand/n3x/specs.html#product-tabs) claim the N3X has a "Soundboard Resonator" (which its other AGs don't). They repeat the feature as one of its key features in the product overview.

Originally Posted by ando
I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up.


I don't think Kawai is making any magical claims either (but they do say more: https://kawaius.com/technology/soundboard-speaker-system/). What would Yamaha say if someone asked them what the special "Soundboard Resonator" does in the N3X? Would they say it does nothing? Or would they also say something along the lines of taking advantage of the resonant qualities of wood as it channels sound energy onto a real wooden soundboard to produce natural, organic tone?


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: Gombessa] #2880283
08/16/19 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by ando
Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates.


Yamaha's specs (https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/pianos/avantgrand/n3x/specs.html#product-tabs) claim the N3X has a "Soundboard Resonator" (which its other AGs don't). They repeat the feature as one of its key features in the product overview.

Originally Posted by ando
I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up.


I don't think Kawai is making any magical claims either (but they do say more: https://kawaius.com/technology/soundboard-speaker-system/). What would Yamaha say if someone asked them what the special "Soundboard Resonator" does in the N3X? Would they say it does nothing? Or would they also say something along the lines of taking advantage of the resonant qualities of wood as it channels sound energy onto a real wooden soundboard to produce natural, organic tone?


Probably, marketing people gonna market - but the engineering on the Kawai soundboard is very suspect. If you wanted a soundboard to resonate properly using only 1 or 2 point source transducers, you don't add all those stiff ribs to the back of it. They are for cosmetic purposes and are designed for piano salespeople to point at and say, "hey look, a real piano soundboard!". It's part of the marketing snow job for piano realism - it's at least as effective as people using their actual ears. People like seeing parts they've seen on a real piano - even if they don't understand any of it. It helps sway them when they are a mess of confusion in trying to decide what to buy - plus it explains why the CA98 sounds so much bigger than the CA78, right? I have it first hand that this is how they are selling the CA98. When I first went to try the CA98/78 when they first came out, the salesman was really working the soundboard angle - he didn't even mention the much larger speaker system on the CA98. All the difference was attributed to the soundboard. It actuality, if you unplugged the soundboard, I doubt that it is responsible for much at all except an indistinct boomy-ness which is present on that model.

I'd say if Yamaha is now using a soundboard resonator on the N3X (they weren't to my knowledge on the N3), it's still marketing hype, although it might potentially move somewhat more air than the Kawai due to not having to put thick, visually-prominent ribs on the back of it (my assumption). On the other hand, I think that would still be of very limited value - the only thing it would likely add is a slightly more pronounced bottom end and a slightly less pinpoint location of the sound coming from the speaker drivers. I think it's still mostly marketing spin. If soundboards are so great and responsive, why so many speakers? Yamaha is probably just trying to keep up with Kawai's soundboard marketing mumbo jumbo.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 [Re: ando] #2880291
08/16/19 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
I think it's still mostly marketing spin. If soundboards are so great and responsive, why so many speakers?


I imagine this is easily answered with cost, complexity, and size considerations. You need a big piano for a soundboard and it doesn't even fit on the relatively massive likes of the AGs or NV10, let alone your average Aurius.

It also seems hard to get soundboard response correct, especially at the high end, which I understand is why pianos with "real" soundboard speakers for digital like the TransAcoustics still have tweeters for the high end (I think the Aures and newer TAs may be full-transducer setups?)

I honestly don't know if a soundboard without resonating string response is better than a well tuned speaker setup, but it definitely seems easier and cheaper to implement the latter.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
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