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Shopping for a hybrid digital
#3040299 10/28/20 11:45 AM
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Greetings, All!

I've lurked on this forum for years but don't usually post or comment. I'm here for some opinions/advice in my search for a new instrument.

Way back in the dark ages I bought the nicest digital piano I could afford, a Yamaha CLP-970. When I was shopping for it, I also played one of the first-generation Yamaha GranTouch hybrid pianos and found it extremely impressive. At the time, it was out of my price range, so I shelved the idea for a later purchase.

In the intervening two decades I've mostly been happy with my CLP-970. I found a local repair shop that was able to replace worn out keys and do any repairs I needed. As a music teacher, I also had access to a nice grand piano at school for my own practicing and also teaching piano lessons, so the Clavinova at home was more an instrument for personal enjoyment, having around for composing/arranging, teaching my own children a few keyboard skills, and so on.

I live in an apartment building that is very short on space and so an acoustic grand piano is definitely out of the question. Even though my neighbors are very tolerant of music reverberating throughout the house (we also have several other loud instruments in our family), I like being able to practice with headphones, too.

Back in the even darker ages (last millennium!) I also owned a Yamaha U3 upright for a few years, during a time when I was teaching out of my home and practicing a lot. I must admit, however, that I never got along very well with the upright action and I always really missed my family's acoustic grand, which was an eccentric but expertly rebuilt and maintained Mason & Hamlin. I simply prefer practicing and playing even old, beat-up grand pianos rather than most uprights. (I have encountered a few uprights that I liked better, but there aren't many.)

My situation has changed recently and I'm doing more practicing and teaching at home. It now appears that the trusty old CLP-970 is in need of another round of keyboard repairs, and I'm disinclined to put the money into repairing it again because I've still had that GranTouch experience at the back of my mind and am now able to afford an upgrade to a hybrid digital.

(I've also rejected the idea of a SILENT piano because of the upright action. No space for the grand and I just don't want an upright action.)

Due to both covid restrictions and limited access to various piano models where I live, I may not be able to personally try out both models of piano I'm currently considering, the Yamaha N-1X and the Kawai Novus NV-10. In real life I have played quite a few Bösendorfers and love their sound, so I lean toward the Yamaha for that reason. I've also played a lot of acoustic Kawais that I really liked, especially the action, and so I wonder if the Kawai action might be a compelling feature. There's only one dealer here that's likely to have either of these models available to try, and I've put out feelers with them. Obviously if I've waited this long, I can certainly take the time to personally shop for my next instrument, but feedback from owners of hybrid instruments (with grand piano actions!) is also welcome.

Other considerations: I want the onboard sound to be good because I will also teach on this instrument. But the room it has to fill is quite small, so it doesn't need to be very robust. I'm not interested in software solutions or too much modification of the sound system (although adding a bass speaker or monitor or something would be fine if it improved the quality a lot) and just want to be able to enjoy the instrument as-is (as a substitute for an acoustic instrument).

And did I mention that I want the action to feel like a grand? wink

Fire away with comments, thoughts, advice, etc.

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Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040307 10/28/20 11:58 AM
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If you have access to piano dealers ... go have a look and try them.
The Kawai Novus line includes the NV10 with grand action.
The Yamaha Avant Grand line includes the N1X and N3X with grand actions.
(Both lines include a model with an upright action, too, but that's off the plate, right?)

I've tried the NV10. I really like the action. I tried the N3X, and I liked it even more ... but it's too expensive for me.
I'll likely try an N1X in the coming months.

You should try all of these pianos, too.

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040310 10/28/20 12:03 PM
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You’ve come to the right place, Zora!

If I may, in general it seems like you can’t go wrong with either the N1X or the NV-10; both are considered very good in terms of the action and sound.

But if you are really picky (“the piano has to ‘speak’ to me”) then you might not have another option but to try them and compare.

There’s plenty of info about the ‘differences’ on this forum, but just in case:

N1X has shorter key sticks, no damper mechanism, but it’s also cheaper.

NV-10 has longer key sticks, a mechanical damper mechanism, but it’s also more expensive!


Other than that, there’s not much of a ‘spec’ difference unless you’re interested in ‘binaural’ samples (N1X); which for some reason are blown out of proportion ‘round here, but not something that would make a real difference, if you ask me.

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040314 10/28/20 12:14 PM
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I thought the binaural samples were nice but I wouldn't base my buying decision on them. Also I know someone with loss of hearing in one ear compared to his other ear and he said that he couldn't stand the binaural samples of the Yamaha. At this price range I think you really need to find a way to test drive them yourself smile


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040318 10/28/20 12:20 PM
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I see that Pianoloverus posted the Kawai vs Yamaha hybrid question today and is getting a lot more response than I have! At least I can read the comments on that thread, too . . .

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Pete14 #3040358 10/28/20 02:11 PM
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Two months ago I would have agreed with you on this point ...
Originally Posted by Pete14
... there’s not much of a ‘spec’ difference unless you’re interested in ‘binaural’ samples (N1X), which for some reason are blown out of proportion ‘round here, but not something that would make a real difference, if you ask me.
But I tried the binaural samples on an N3X ... and now I see (and hear) this differently.

The binaural sound is fantastic. It might be just the ticket out of the VST trap for me.

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040369 10/28/20 02:35 PM
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Quote
The binaural sound is fantastic. It might be just the ticket out of the VST trap for me.

No MacMacMac you will still be sucked into the VSTi-land just like the rest of us. You even might have a weak moment and buy Pianoteq (jk) eek


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040376 10/28/20 02:46 PM
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What am I missing here?

I’ve never been compelled to remove my headphones because I swore by the old gods and the new that the sound was playing through the speakers in front of me (a binaural fan-club claim).

Is it possible that the binaural in the P-515 is inferior to the Avant-X binaural?

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040377 10/28/20 02:48 PM
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VSTs? Possible.

Pianoteq? Less likely than winning the lottery. Ten times in a row.

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040380 10/28/20 03:02 PM
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Hey maybe by Pianoteq 11 we will have you on board. I course when Pianoteq 11 comes out you won't be able to hear anyway smile


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
EPW #3040384 10/28/20 03:20 PM
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I don't think so!
Originally Posted by EPW
Hey maybe by Pianoteq 11 we will have you on board.


[Linked Image]

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Pete14 #3040388 10/28/20 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
Is it possible that the binaural in the P-515 is inferior to the Avant-X binaural?

Maybe your head is the wrong size.

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
MacMacMac #3040389 10/28/20 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I don't think so!
Originally Posted by EPW
Hey maybe by Pianoteq 11 we will have you on board.


[Linked Image]


More likely by Mac-The-Knife;


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040391 10/28/20 03:50 PM
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I think I mentioned that Pianoteq is not part of the equation for me, but if not I'll mention it here again. wink Appreciate the humor but it doesn't help me decide between these two pianos.

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040399 10/28/20 04:01 PM
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Sorry Zora. Now don't be a stranger after you get the information you need. Really only 4 post in six years! Yikes and I thought I was bad at posting on this forum smile


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040400 10/28/20 04:09 PM
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Doesn't mean I haven't been lurking! I've read all about VSTs here over the years (in fact, it's the first place I ever heard of them, and really, Pianoteq ought to pay this forum for all the advertising it gets here). Just haven't felt the need to post before now.

I was just watching some online piano reviews and I remembered one more annoying thing about uprights -- the music desk tends to be awkward and hard to use. That's one thing I really appreciate about my CLP-970 (which I may repair and keep as a second instrument even if I buy a hybrid). The music desk is large and simple instead of the awkwardly placed folding shelf that appears on so many uprights (acoustic and digital alike). Why do they do that on instruments that cost thousands??? You'd think this design flaw would have been eliminated by now.

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040403 10/28/20 04:15 PM
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Not all uprights are alike.
I used to have a Kawai US-50 upright. No complaints about that music desk ...


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Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040410 10/28/20 04:39 PM
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Agreed! So why did they put a bad one on the Novus NV5?

Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040415 10/28/20 05:14 PM
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It's mostly the top-of-the-line uprights that are presented with a grand-like music desk. The NV5 certainly isn't modeled after Kawai's flagship upright smile


Yamaha AvantGrand N1X
Re: Shopping for a hybrid digital
Zora #3040417 10/28/20 05:21 PM
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That upright was 50" tall. The NV5 is only 43". Not enough height for a big desk.

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