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Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
#3036473 10/16/20 11:18 PM
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I’m considering the Yamaha C3X because of the sound and feel of the keyboard. I live in a condo and would like the option to play in the evening (softly), and/or silently with headsets. The simple answer is a C3X TA2 which pretty much mandates a pricy new C3X. Does anyone feel using Yamaha’s, or other’s silent technology, and plugging high quality speakers into the headphone jack gives me most of a TA2, less the transducers driving the sound board. If this works it allows me to purchase a used and much less expensive C3X.

I’d appreciate opinions on this approach.

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Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3036481 10/17/20 12:35 AM
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It sounds like while playing in a controlled volume, you'd rather drive a speaker-based system from the headphones jack instead of using the headphones themselves, is that right? If that's so, I guess the next logical step down that can be driven by speakers for lower volume control but still giving you that acoustic action would be the Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, no?

Last edited by Volusiano; 10/17/20 12:36 AM.
Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
Volusiano #3036486 10/17/20 01:22 AM
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Thx for the reply, and yes I’m looking to drive speakers as an alternative to the Transacoustic approach of transducers attached to the sound bar, and not because I like using speakers, but instead that I’d like the convenience of playing at lower volumes while preserving my ability to play a C3X acoustically when the environment permits. And as stated above, I’m looking for a more cost effective approach of a used C3XSH, over the new C3X TA2.


And lastly, the stringless AvantGrand does not appeal to me.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3036494 10/17/20 02:59 AM
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I spend way more time than I should thinking about this very question as I count the days down to my retirement, house move and grand piano purchase. Whilst researching and speaking to dealers I got some excellent advice from Chris Venables Pianos in the UK. Some things to consider.

Connecting speakers to a silent piano is not an uncommon thing to do. The self playing disklaviers for example do this so you can hear accompanying music whilst the piano plays with a supported mechanism to mount some powered Yamaha monitors under the piano. Others have used sound bars. And if you’re feeling rich there’s some nice photos out there of Yamaha piano black NS-F901 floor standing speakers sat next to a Yamaha grand.

My use case is different to yours.

I’m less concerned about being able to play the piano quietly and more about being able to layer sounds with the acoustic piano and here there’s a difference. In your case when playing quietly, the digital piano sound will be enhanced by the effect the real strings and soundboard have. Effectively you’ll have the worlds most sophisticated digital piano. On the potential downside other non piano sounds, eg a backing track will also be affected by the same string effect. As I’m more interested in layering sounds I’m less disadvantaged by the separate speaker approach.

Obviously if you buy an older silent piano you’ll need to decide whether to go with the well respected integral Yamaha system, a less sophisticated system from another manufacturer or a third party one. Where as buying a used acoustic piano makes a lot of sense a used acoustic piano with an ageing silent system might be more problematic due to warranty issues.

Aside from Yamaha Transacoustics, Kawai do transacoustic (Aures) uprights which were relaunched a couple of years ago and it’s been suggested to me this technology could well be added to grands soon. So you might be able to get a GX2 Aures for less than C3X transacoustic.

When I get closer to the date and we’re not dealing with Covid I’ll take some powered monitors down to a dealer with a Transacoustic C3X and see how sounds coming from the soundboard compare with sounds coming from the speakers and if I’m wowed by the Transacoustic element I’ll get the C3X. I spend 1-2 hours a day playing. I’ve worked for 40 years so figure for the amount of pleasure I’ll get I’m entitled to a retirement treat.

Good luck with your quest.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3036499 10/17/20 03:51 AM
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I should add, it’s a small point but the Yamaha silent system SH2 has Aux out so you don’t need to connect via the headphone socket.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
dhts #3036503 10/17/20 04:57 AM
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This is just how I feel ...
Originally Posted by dhts
I’ve worked for 40 years so figure for the amount of pleasure I’ll get I’m entitled to a retirement treat.
Retirement is just 44 days away. A new piano doesn't yet have a date assigned ... but it'll be soon.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
MacMacMac #3036508 10/17/20 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
This is just how I feel ...
Originally Posted by dhts
I’ve worked for 40 years so figure for the amount of pleasure I’ll get I’m entitled to a retirement treat.
Retirement is just 44 days away. A new piano doesn't yet have a date assigned ... but it'll be soon.

Mmmmmm.... This got me thinking!. I am at about 15 years from retirement (if at 67 I can do it then). I am self employed and the exact date could vary, but more or less... I began playing piano two and a half years ago and have got already my first acoustic, a Yamaha U3H, which is perfectly fine right now.

My future plan, as the children leave the house (we are at 50% now, with two out and two still with us), is to buy a grand. But I don't want to wait 15 years for that... So I hope to continue playing and learning and perhaps in 5 years or so, get a grand.

It is nice to have projects and objectives in hobbies! thumb

Sorry for the rant, but this way it is already written and so my commitment is bigger grin


Yamaha U3H
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Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3036576 10/17/20 09:31 AM
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Have you considered a DC3X? No TA2, but instead uses speakers. More expensive though. I recently purchased one and it will soon replace our AvantGrand N2 and Kawai CX-21D.


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Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3036584 10/17/20 09:42 AM
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Never mind, I see from another post you are looking for a cheaper option. I would go with the silent option over TA2, which I think you can do? There is Disklavier, TA2, or Silent, if I'm not mistaken.


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Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3036598 10/17/20 10:21 AM
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Thx to everyone for the input. It’s my first question on the board and overwhelmed with the thoughtful and considerate response.
I’m in a similar boat with many, recently retired, probably given this too much thought, and hamstrung from demoing options because of the pandemic. I’m happy to hear my idea was not too far fetched and will probably take a couple speakers to a local piano dealer once the pandemic subsides. Thx again to all.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3037477 10/19/20 05:13 PM
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I just took delivery of a C3XTA2. I was planning on posting a detailed first impressions but I figured I'd summarize some of it here.

You can't go wrong with it if you want a baby grand acoustic and a digital combined in one. The ability to play silently is great, but if that's all you want then the silent would be a perfect option. I went for the transacoustic because my wife and I both play string instruments in addition to piano and accompany each other on piano. Volume reduction and other sounds are important. We also debated getting speakers, but that defeated the point of consolidating our old digital if you still have to output to something else external.

The one major benefit if the transacoustic that should not be overlooked is the natural resonance you get from the soundboard. It really does make the experience more natural in digital mode. If that is important to you to get as close to natural out of your digital as you can then the transacoustic is a must.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3037503 10/19/20 06:04 PM
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How does the acoustic sound of the C3X compare to the CFX digital sound resonating from the soundboard? For somebody who doesn't know that it's a TA, would they think that the CFX sound is acoustically created?

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
Volusiano #3037574 10/19/20 10:31 PM
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Great question but very hard to answer. Each piano sound is very good and different. The CFX sounds different from bosendorfer. The acoustic c3x sounds different still. My initial assessment is that the mid range on the digital samples sounds a bit muffled when played via the transacoustic. It sounds better on headphones. That said, from a listener aspect instead of from the keyboard I can hear the mid range more clearly. If you walked in on someone playing you really wouldn't know that they were playing digital when you add in the visuals of the hammers moving. It is difficult to tell when playing, I switched it without my wife knowing and she couldn't immediately tell either. After a while you will notice the subtle nuances, but it's really so good that you won't really care that it is a digital instrument.

It is difficult to do a pure comparison right now because the c3x still needs it's initial tuning.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
navyasw02 #3037880 10/21/20 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by navyasw02
I just took delivery of a C3XTA2. I was planning on posting a detailed first impressions but I figured I'd summarize some of it here.

You can't go wrong with it if you want a baby grand acoustic and a digital combined in one. The ability to play silently is great, but if that's all you want then the silent would be a perfect option. I went for the transacoustic because my wife and I both play string instruments in addition to piano and accompany each other on piano. Volume reduction and other sounds are important. We also debated getting speakers, but that defeated the point of consolidating our old digital if you still have to output to something else external.

The one major benefit if the transacoustic that should not be overlooked is the natural resonance you get from the soundboard. It really does make the experience more natural in digital mode. If that is important to you to get as close to natural out of your digital as you can then the transacoustic is a must.

Your post had raised my interest in a TransAcoustic piano as my girl friend also plays violin and I accompany using piano. We used to play together in the classroom and the practice room and didn't find the volume as an issue. However, we never played together in my living room so I don't know how that sounds like. What exactly do you find annoying when accompanying using an acoustic piano? Does short stick lid position or Una Corda pedal help?

You also mentioned other extra sounds in Yamaha TA. What kinds of sound you find interesting? I tried a GC1TA in the store once and really couldn't tell the difference between acoustic and TA. It's also significantly better than the N3X playing using speakers near by.


Piano: Yamaha N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
Harpuia #3037898 10/21/20 03:55 AM
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Sorry maybe I wasn't very clear in my response, was typing on my cell phone so maybe I didn't compose it as well as I usually do on computer and also I left out some things.

Volume control is helpful because I live in an apartment. It is good to have volume control playing in the evening. I don't have any adjacent neighbors, but the acoustic even with the lid closed is still very room filling. Our music room is smaller than a typical living room.

Extra sounds occasionally we like to use harpsichord or organ sounds from the digital. Piano sounds typically we stick with CFX sample. I agree that it sounds much better than the speaker system even on the n3x. It has a great sense of realism coming from the soundboard.

One other thing I've noticed is that if I set the volume at 80 percent it is about the same volume as acoustic. Holding down the sustain pedal for a prolonged period really shows how much resonant sound builds up when you stop playing just like an acoustic. Very interesting.

If I had one small complaint right now it would be that yamaha should provide a more modern interface unit. Most features you'd have as buttons on digital pianos require scrolling through functions displayed on a small LCD screen that are only identifies with a function number and you need the manual to serve as a decoder ring. Transpose for example is only labeled as Fn 3.1. it would be great to modernize into the current century with an app or graphical interface.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
navyasw02 #3037900 10/21/20 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by navyasw02
Sorry maybe I wasn't very clear in my response, was typing on my cell phone so maybe I didn't compose it as well as I usually do on computer and also I left out some things.

Volume control is helpful because I live in an apartment. It is good to have volume control playing in the evening. I don't have any adjacent neighbors, but the acoustic even with the lid closed is still very room filling. Our music room is smaller than a typical living room.

Extra sounds occasionally we like to use harpsichord or organ sounds from the digital. Piano sounds typically we stick with CFX sample. I agree that it sounds much better than the speaker system even on the n3x. It has a great sense of realism coming from the soundboard.

One other thing I've noticed is that if I set the volume at 80 percent it is about the same volume as acoustic. Holding down the sustain pedal for a prolonged period really shows how much resonant sound builds up when you stop playing just like an acoustic. Very interesting.

If I had one small complaint right now it would be that yamaha should provide a more modern interface unit. Most features you'd have as buttons on digital pianos require scrolling through functions displayed on a small LCD screen that are only identifies with a function number and you need the manual to serve as a decoder ring. Transpose for example is only labeled as Fn 3.1. it would be great to modernize into the current century with an app or graphical interface.

Thanks for your reply! I also live in an apartment, although it is a ground floor and my living room does not share a wall with my neighbor. And the volume control is really handy for smaller rooms.

IIRC Yamaha provide a Smart Pianist on iOS and it can connect to TransAcoustic units. Worth checking out!


Piano: Yamaha N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3037901 10/21/20 04:24 AM
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Another question. What makes you choose the TA instead of top end digitals like AvantGrands or Novus? Is it a better digital sound with the soundboard, or would you like to play the acoustic mode during the day and only use the digital mode in the evening?


Piano: Yamaha N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3037909 10/21/20 05:41 AM
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Thanks I'll have to check out smart pianist.

We got the transacoustic because we really wanted an acoustic for a long time. We had several digitals between us over the years, but even the new digitals don't have the resonance capabilities of the transacoustic. We ruled out the silent Yamahas because we really wanted to completely retire a digital and also briefly considered the disklavier, but ultimately decided it was too gimmicky and we wouldn't really use it.

Also looked at Steinway spirio, but overpriced and same in function to disklavier. Also was not interested in the similar kawai system based on acoustic sound preference. We also considered old Yamaha with silent but I found there was a noticeable difference in the action with the silent function enabled.

To us, transacoustic really is the best of both worlds with not much in the way of compromise on the digital or acoustic side.

Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3037965 10/21/20 10:05 AM
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TA2/Aures, upright or grand, represent the future of ADP for home usage I think.
Both playability and extendibility are higher, including connection with VSTs.

My dream piano is a SK3 Aures if it does come out some day.


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VSL CFX&D274&Bluthner1895, Pianoteq7, Ivory2 ACD, Galaxy VintageD&StD, Bechstein DG, Embertone 1955Walker
Re: Transacoustic or silent grand piano?
NYCDLP #3037998 10/21/20 11:18 AM
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I think that a hybrid with a soundboard (no strings) and physical modeling (at least for resonances) will do the trick for me.

The TransAures is a full acoustic and that shows in the price, maintenance, etc.....
All that hassle for a little -real- string resonance? I pass!

Keep in mind that a baby grand shaped hybrid (with full soundboard) can still produce some ‘real’ cabinet/soundboard resonance and such....

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