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In another thread:
Originally Posted by Pete14
Yes, the hybrids use real actions, but they are bare-bones baby grand actions. These are not masterfully regulated Renner actions (or something similar).

Can someone provide us the relevant specs on the respective actions in the NV10 and N1X, as they may be compared to to the specs of acoustical grand actions in actual pianos?

What are the specs of a typical baby grand action? What is missing or different about the NV10 and N1X actions from a real high-end acoustical piano action? For example, we know the N1X action doesn't have a real acoustical damper action, and neither NV10 nor N1X have real physical mechanisms to support the sostenuto or una corda pedals. What else is "bare-bones" about the NV10 and N1X actions besides these three things?

With regard to "masterfully regulated," I am aware of some posts where people have mentioned having their N1 or NV10 regulated already. The N1 has been out for a while, and I imagine there is experience in having Avantgrands regulated. Could the action of the standard store-bought N1X or NV10 be further improved through regulation by a professional piano technician? How and in what way?


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I’m not talking about dimensions here. Of course one can build a violin based on the dimensions of a Stradivarius but that alone won’t cut it. It will still be a knock off.
Perhaps when I refer to the action I’m thinking not only about the mechanism itself but more about how it connects with the rest. The immediacy of a Steinway S is not present in these hybrids. Yes, the hybrids cost a lot less, but I’m not the one claiming “it’s like playing the real thing”.
In the not-so-distant past I had frequent access to an N2, and for all that money, it was still an artificial attempt at musicality (with the help of Pianoteq -blended with the native sound- it was okay, but not even close to even a modest acoustic).

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The biggest difference would be the longer pivots. Another difference would be the higher quality of wood and other materials that are being used, tighter manufacturing tolerances, manual selection of best parts and laborious regulation of all the parameters. With all that being said (and of course IMHO) there's always some kind of "audiophilia" about things like that, I mean the snobbish perception about how expensive pianos are light-years better than baby grands, etc. I've played only a few premium grand pianos (the prime concert Steinway used in Bulgaria Hall, for instance) and while they are indeed the best pianos I've ever touched, they weren't so much better than good entry-level baby grands, especially in terms of action. Sound is another thing. Considering they are around 10-20 times more expensive, they don't feel like 10-20 times better in regards to action.


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You’ve confirmed my suspicion: the similarities end at ‘dimensions’. Long/short pivot aside, everything from selecting the wood, curing it , caressing and talking to it (Stradivari was known for whispering at his wood), other -everything- manufacturing shortcuts, apprentice instead of master technician giving ‘it’ the finally touches, and many etc’s............ is what ultimately makes the difference.
Also, I’m not against ‘good’ baby grand actions. The short/long doesn’t concern me so much as the care and subsequent implementation that good acoustics go through.

For some perspective: one can buy a whole acoustic baby grand (Chinese) for $6,000; yes, everything is ‘real’ (including the action) but that does not make it great. The build-quality and everything else about current hybrids (flying hammers) is at the level of these Chinese pianos. So yes, hybrids play exactly like a -$6,000 Chinese- piano; that part is true. laugh

Keep in mind that I would take a hybrid over my P-515 any day of the week, and as CG once said ‘They ain’t half bad’, and they fill a need. I’m simply going to wait a little longer (maybe a lot longer) for my version of a great hybrid. I wouldn’t mind a BallsandDorfer 155 cabinet along with its original soundboard and action (perhaps with some minor modifications). Also, it should come with Pianoteq installed and optimized for this piano, and the ability to upgrade the model every couple of years for a minimal fee.

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Please do not take me too seriously (not that you ever do). I tend to get cranky prior to taking my medications. Once these kick in, I’m way-more mellow. wink

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I owned two AG N1 from 2011 to 2018 and an RX2 in between and it was very hard to find anyone, even here in music city (Nashville) who would even open up an AvantGrand. I ended up having a minor key issue on one of my AvantGrands and essentially had to live with it. I called Yamaha and they recommended a tech from a keyboard shop here. I called that shop and they don’t have hardly any experience with the AvantGrand, especially the N1, so I was kind of stuck, no pun intended. YMMV based on where you live.


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I found a service manual for a N3 just searching on the web, I guess it's not very legal to download it but yeah, it was uploaded and available straight from the search engine smile Or maybe it's legal, who knows? Anyway, a regulation process for a N3 (which wouldn't be too dissimilar to any other AvantGrand, including the X-series) is pretty straightforward and is explained almost in a "for dummies" fashion. There's some slight difference in regards to some parameters, for instance the escapement varies from 3mm (in the bass region) to 2mm (in the treble), compared to shorter escapement such as 1mm in real acoustic pianos. I guess that's by design to allow for optical sensors to interpret properly or something like that.

I guess a piano technician will need no more than 10-15 minutes to familiarize with these details and be able to regulate/fix an AG piano. The problem is rather the access to the service manuals. Yamaha won't probably give it to everybody. On the other hand Yamaha gave me the key calibration procedure for NU1X, but I guess they were afraid that the infamous piano basher CyberGene would ruin their reputation laugh JK

Last edited by CyberGene; 08/26/19 09:51 AM.

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Originally Posted by PianoZac
I it was very hard to find anyone, even here in music city (Nashville) who would even open up an AvantGrand.


When I opened up my NV10 and adjusted the optical sensors, I got a real life glimpse at how tight the tolerances actually are in these hybrids. I wouldn't be surprised if "real" regulation is different between these and acoustics (e.g. you can't just ask an acoustic tech to regulate it like they would a real grand). Stuff like easing bushings should be fine,. But anything that impacts the hammer position and travel might have unintended effects on the sensing.

As to factory regulation, I think all we gave is conjecture, there isn't any information out there about how Yamaha or Kawai approach these actions, and if they are more or less regulated than the GA/GL grands they're supposed to derive from. My guess is basic regulation is easier on hybrids since you can s| numerical output against a spec. But compared to how tightly refined and shop setup/prep, you'll just have to rely on your fingers.


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Put a cheap Chinese grand next to a Steinway or other premium grand and I bet you'll get similar results. A "live listen" of a real grand versus a digital output through speakers though? Probably not. And since the touchstone feature of a hybrid focuses on the playing experience rather than listening, I don't think a blind listening test is the one that matters. Also, it seems like that test focused solely on projection, or "loudness" to the audience? I would hope there was a lot more to a Stradivarius than how loud it is (otherwise, you could just amp up anything with a string and make it the loudest thing in the concert hall)?


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I've read studies like this in other things. Funny thumb

Read above LarryK! smile


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop


I've read studies like this in other things. Funny thumb

Read above LarryK! smile


I’ve known about this for many years. There were studies done before this one.

I don’t doubt that people can be fooled. The thing is that the violins being compared are built and played in exactly the same way. Many modern violins are identical copies of Strads. Violins are incredibly crude instruments. Old violins command their prices because of supply and demand, and the fact that people are always looking for storehouses of value. Keep in mind that the modern violins are built to high standards and are not cheap instruments:

“The record price for an instrument by a modern maker is a relatively cheap $132,000.”

Let’s repeat the experiment with $200 fiddles from China.

By the way, the Italian peddler Tarisio got his Strads and Guarneris by going around to churches in Italy and trading new violins for “worn out” old ones. Perhaps his new instruments did sound fresher, but they were worth little compared to the instruments he gained.

I don’t believe this experiment applies to digital pianos and acoustic pianos, which produce sound in different ways. Let’s see if a $15k Avant Grande can be picked over a $150k Steinway Model D. I seriously doubt it.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I found a service manual for a N3 just searching on the web, I guess it's not very legal to download it but yeah, it was uploaded and available straight from the search engine smile Or maybe it's legal, who knows? Anyway, a regulation process for a N3 (which wouldn't be too dissimilar to any other AvantGrand, including the X-series) is pretty straightforward and is explained almost in a "for dummies" fashion. There's some slight difference in regards to some parameters, for instance the escapement varies from 3mm (in the bass region) to 2mm (in the treble), compared to shorter escapement such as 1mm in real acoustic pianos. I guess that's by design to allow for optical sensors to interpret properly or something like that.


I have an NU1 and also the service manual. As CG says it contains the specifications for the main adjustable parts of the action, and also provides the initial basic steps for regulating the action to standard.

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What the heck do listeners know about music/sound? Did they spend their lives practicing the violin?
Did you know that at some point in time it was “listeners” whom decided that Bach was boring, and wait for it.....simple!
Yeah, those idiots chose Chopin over Bach. So once again, what the heck do listeners know about anything? For god’s sake, all they do is sit on their behinds and listen.
“Oh, that Gould guy is a savage; he should learn a thing or two from Horowitz”! eek

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I’m messing around with y’all. What the heck do I know about Stradi? laugh

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Originally Posted by Pete14
What the heck do listeners know about music/sound? Did they spend their lives practicing the violin?
Did you know that at some point in time it was “listeners” whom decided that Bach was boring, and wait for it.....simple!
Yeah, those idiots chose Chopin over Bach. So once again, what the heck do listeners know about anything? For god’s sake, all they do is sit on their behinds and listen.
“Oh, that Gould guy is a savage; he should learn a thing or two from Horowitz”! eek

P.S.

I’m messing around with y’all. What the heck do I know about Stradi? laugh


You raise a good point. What are the qualifications of the listeners? I fooled my electrician’s helper into thinking I was Pablo Casals playing the Bach Cello Suites in my living room when I played a recording on my stereo. The electrician was in another room. I can’t believe he listened to classical music a lot, as I don’t think anybody who knew the Casals recording would mistake it for live playing.

By the way, I believe it was Casals who found the music for the cello suites in a music store and worked on it for over ten years before playing it publicly. Bach, simple?, hardly. The opposite is true. There is no place to hide in Bach and there is no room for error.

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I’m not surprised by the Stradivarius double blind studies showing that listeners and elite violinists prefer the sound of modern instruments. Human hearing isn’t all that great. And people can have differing opinions of what sounds good, or in fact what they hear at all - just look at the varied opinions on this forum regarding Pianotec, or the famous audio clip where some people hear “Yanny” and others hear “Laurel” (I hear the latter).

https://youtu.be/USHPhoXwQJM

Or the famous YouTube video on audio myths which basically destroys the entire audiophile world since most people probably can’t tell the difference between a $25 Soundblaster card and an Apogee 8000. See @ 41:15

https://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ

Having said that I did spend money on high-end monitors for my N1X, so maybe I should listen to their advice more haha.


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Some musicians are concerned only about the music and much less about the actual sound. For instance, see this Pianoteq demo from the Pianoteq reference website:
Pianoteq - Warren Hartman

Obviously this guy is a top-notch jazzman, I hear some pretty good chord progressions, nice void leading, etc, just can't find any single fault to the way he creates his music, it's a modern jazz, all by the book. But the sound is awful, it's everything that I and other people hate about Pianoteq, but in a highly concentrated extract: synthetic, boxy sound reminding of CP80 electromechanical grand, rather than acoustic piano. And here's what he has to say:
Quote
«Pianoteq is my favorite piano plugin. Attached below is a short composition using Pianoteq 6. Very distinct and present. Great sound!»


So, no it's not just audience and listeners that can be fooled. Sometimes on the contrary: musicians can be much less discriminating about sound, compared to listeners who have developed ear for timbre and sound quality.


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There's an inherent bias among violinists ... because few have ever heard a Stradivarius.
After listening to and playing a modern instrument it might be odd and even off-putting to hearing a Strad for the first time.
The questions "which is better?" and "which do you prefer?" are quite different, eh?

On the other hand, it can be quite easy to distinguish among a set of modern instruments.
For example, a Steinway, a Kawai, a Yamaha, and a Bosie all sound different ... but they all sound like pianos.
Pianoteq does not. A big difference. One that is easy to distinguish.


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