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Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
#3041481 10/31/20 05:01 PM
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Hi all,

I have spent the better part of a month looking at different pianos, mostly online. I mainly play classical, and through a stroke of good luck I had access to a Steinway Model B for a few years, but been over for a couple of years now.

I'm looking to spend 5-6K USD, maybe up to 8-9K if it can be justified. The models I'm considering are Kawai CA-99, Yamaha CLP-785, and Yamaha N1X. I've tried the CA-99 and N1X in person, but nobody around has the 785. Here's a rough Pros/Cons list I've compiled, along with prices and timelines I'm getting:

Kawai CA-99, $5500, in stock:
Pros:
- Best speakers (the wooden soundboard thing actually does sound amazing)
Cons:
- Action potentially not as good as the others.
- Sampling definitely not as good, to me at least.

Yamaha CLP-785, $5000, might not be able to get one until FEBRUARY:
Pros:
- Best sampling, considering both source pianos (CFX and Bosendorfer) and sampling quality.
- Binaural sampling for headphones. I live in an apartment, and would need this for late-night playing
- Supposedly better action than the CA-99, according to an experienced salesperson I spoke to who's played the GrandTouch action on the CVP-805 and the CLP-685. The 785 supposedly has an even better action (GrandTouch-S?) and something called "Real Grand Experience 2"? This would likely be a no-brainer if I could just try the damn thing.
Cons:
- Speakers aren't as good, but I'm likely going to be playing with headphones most of the time
- FEBRUARY!!!

Yamaha N1X, $8500, available December or so:
Pros:
- Of course, the action. I liked the action a LOT better than the CA-99. However, the same salesperson I spoke to claims there isn't really a difference in action between this and the GrandTouch series, and that it' s not worth the price upgrade.
- Same sampling as the CLP-785
- Binaural sampling only for CFX but not Bosendorfer
Cons:
- Okay speakers.
- Somewhat lacking in digital features, not super important for me, but why not.

I'm going absolutely insane deciding between these. Feel free to suggest anything better in the same-ish price range (up to $10K?). I am not considering silent pianos, I do strictly want a digital/hybrid as this'll be a transitionary piano for the next ~3-5 years until I can afford a used grand (and a house to go with it..). Wait time might seem like an insignificant difference, but I've gone without a piano for two years now, and I'd love a piano sooner rather than later to go with the quarantine.

Please, save me. Thanks very much.

Last edited by tofupiano; 10/31/20 05:06 PM.
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Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041485 10/31/20 05:12 PM
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You should probably ignore that sales person and form you own opinion.

And headphones can also be used without binaural sampling.

But I don't really myself have any opinion on the Yamaha vs. Kawai debate.

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041488 10/31/20 05:17 PM
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I think there's little for me to say ... because you didn't like the CA99, and you're not yet able to try the others.

In my book ...
No try = no opinion.
No try = no buy.

Be patient. Wait for the pianos to arrive, try them for yourself, and make your own judgement.
My opinion does not matter to you.

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041492 10/31/20 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
You should probably ignore that sales person and form you own opinion.

And headphones can also be used without binaural sampling.

But I don't really myself have any opinion on the Yamaha vs. Kawai debate.

I would, but store in 100s of miles around me has a 785 to try (does any store in the country have these yet?)

And yes, but the binaural sampling is better (I tried it on the 685) so it's a plus point toward the Yamahas.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
No try = no opinion.
No try = no buy.

Be patient. Wait for the pianos to arrive, try them for yourself, and make your own judgement.

I might end up doing this. However, waiting til November might mean I won't get a piano until like March or summer even.

Last edited by tofupiano; 10/31/20 05:24 PM.
Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041496 10/31/20 05:35 PM
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The salesperson lost all his credibility the moment he said 'there isn't really a difference in action' between the GrandTouch and the N1X.


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Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
Beowulf #3041504 10/31/20 05:50 PM
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Quote
However, the same salesperson I spoke to claims there isn't really a difference in action between this and the GrandTouch series, and that it' s not worth the price upgrade.
Quite funny !!

If there was no difference, I suppose my N1X purchase would be a silly action.


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Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041508 10/31/20 05:53 PM
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I agree the preferences are very subjective and you should try yourself.
I don't think any of the CLP-6x5 is similar to the N1X. I haven't tried the new series.
Maybe you should also check the Kawai NV hybrids.

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041510 10/31/20 05:54 PM
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Until you've had a chance to spend a lot of time playing all 3 models, there's really nothing to go crazy about because there's no comparison and no final decision to be made

As the other member have said, you must play these piano and form your own opinion. The last person I'd listen to is the person who's going to take my money, lots of it!

Since you absolutely cannot play all of them, at least for a while, try to relax, ask for opinions in here (especially the negative ones about serious problems) since we're all piano lovers and none of us are trying to take your money. Check to see what others in the same country are paying for the same piano.

Personally, I wouldn't pay $5500 for a CA-99. You should be able to buy one for much less. Maybe this very experience salesperson can help with that when you're ready to buy.

Buying a piano is a special time, I hope you'll enjoy it more than you have. And again, as everyone in here will tell you: play, listen and feel each piano and trust yourself.

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041515 10/31/20 05:59 PM
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The salesperson you spoke to is full of it (love that is)!

If money is not an issue, N1X, of course!

Some have gotten the N1X for as little as 7K, so yes, look around for the best deal!

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
_sem_ #3041547 10/31/20 08:01 PM
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Thanks for the replies all!

Originally Posted by dvju10
Since you absolutely cannot play all of them, at least for a while, try to relax, ask for opinions in here (especially the negative ones about serious problems) since we're all piano lovers and none of us are trying to take your money. Check to see what others in the same country are paying for the same piano.

I've read most of the CA99/700-series threads, but some of the other hands-on/owner threads have like 250 pages.... and there is a lot interesting but off-topic discussion.

Originally Posted by djvu10
Personally, I wouldn't pay $5500 for a CA-99. You should be able to buy one for much less. Maybe this very experience salesperson can help with that when you're ready to buy.

I don't know where I could get a much better deal on pianos, I'm in a pretty expensive city and everything here is similarly priced and the best-rated place already has a price match guarantee. I'll try and be more aggressive about it. Do people mostly buy locally? Is buying online (from really far away) to be avoided? If someone could put together a piano-buying strategy guide that would be awesome, much like car-buying guides/tips-&-tricks you see elsewhere. Either way, your feedback is much appreciated, thanks!

Originally Posted by _sem_
Maybe you should also check the Kawai NV hybrids.

For someone playing mainly with headphones, would the only benefit of these be the action? (Granted, that's a big deal..)
And would the speakers on these be better than the wooden soundboard on the CA-99? Also, I've heard complaints about the keyboard noise, but that's not a huge issue for me.

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041556 10/31/20 09:09 PM
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Tips and tricks?
Originally Posted by tofupiano
Originally Posted by djvu10
Personally, I wouldn't pay $5500 for a CA-99. You should be able to buy one for much less.
I don't know where I could get a much better deal on pianos, I'm in a pretty expensive city and everything here is similarly priced and the best-rated place already has a price match guarantee. I'll try and be more aggressive about it. Do people mostly buy locally? Is buying online (from really far away) to be avoided? If someone could put together a piano-buying strategy guide that would be awesome, much like car-buying guides/tips-&-tricks you see elsewhere. Either way, your feedback is much appreciated, thanks!
The price you see at the shop is the dealer's asking price. It is not "the" price. There is no "the" price.

Instead, look at the prices paid spreadsheet. It's in the master sticky thread. Find out how much other people have paid for this piano.

Take the lowest price there and make that your offer to the dealer.

You can call that a "tip". But it's surely not a "trick". smile

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041589 11/01/20 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by tofupiano
CLP-785
- Supposedly better action than the CA-99, according to an experienced salesperson I spoke to who's played the GrandTouch action on the CVP-805 and the CLP-685. The 785 supposedly has an even better action (GrandTouch-S?)
1. Never trust the advice of a sales person, let alone make any purchasing decision based on it.
2. The action on the 785 is a lot heavier than both the CA99 and the N1X. Your Steinway action is also lighter than the 785.

Originally Posted by tofupiano
Yamaha N1X, $8500, available December or so:
Pros:
- Of course, the action. I liked the action a LOT better than the CA-99.

However, the same salesperson I spoke to claims there isn't really a difference in action between this and the GrandTouch series, and that it' s not worth the price upgrade.
Please, save me. Thanks very much.

You've answered your own question: buy the N1X.

As per point #1 - never take the subjective advice of any sales person. Their advice is biased (and in this case wrong: the 785 does not feel like the N1X). The scrupulous ones will let you try them and let you make up your own mind, they won't try to influence you.

Last edited by Burkey; 11/01/20 12:05 AM.

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Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041602 11/01/20 01:21 AM
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I, personally, didn't mean to say anything negative about your salesman; I was just just trying to help you by pointing out a couple specific things, such as the price and trying the pianos yourself instead of trusting anyone to do that for you. I wouldn't trust the best pianist in the world to choose the right sound, touch and feel for me.

As far as whether to buy local...

When I lived in Fort Wayne IN, I often bought local because I was friends with the folks at Sweetwater and was always able to count on getting a very good price after I'd done my researches. I moved to California but still deal with the same people at Sweetwater after 33 years and still get very good prices BUT I shop around. It's good to become informed about both the products and their prices before buying.

I wouldn't buy a used digital piano long distance but don't have a problem with buying a brand new one long distance if I can save $1000. I may pay $200 more for the convenience of buying local but the price of convenience varies for different people.

I happened to buy my last digital piano locally because the sales person was not only really nice but also gave me a great service and a great price.

Be patient, take the time now so you will be able to smile for years to come about your purchase!

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041611 11/01/20 02:40 AM
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Thanks all, this has been really helpful.

The CA-99 is officially off the table.. and has been replaced with the NV-10. I hadn't realized the 'street' price had dropped so $7500-8500 from $16000 which was too high for me (thanks MacMacMac!)

I've distilled my decision points into the following:
785: Binaural CFX and bosendorfer. Mystery action that might have been upgraded enough to be competitive with N1X? $3000 cheaper than the other two.
N1X: Great action, binaural CFX only
NV10: Great action, Gombessa reckons it's quite a bit ahead of the N1X (But to your point djvu10, I should feel for myself). No binaural anything, and I do like the Yamaha samples/sound better even on speakers. Harder to set up a VST as compared to the Yamahas.

I'll be playing 70% on headphones, but even then perhaps VSTs make the binaural/sound points moot, and so it's just a question of action. I'll try and test out an NV10! The nearest place is 40 minutes away, and I don't have a car yet (new city), hoo boy. Time to call around and ask what prices/delivery dates places can manage for the NV10 and N1X!

Thanks again all.

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041622 11/01/20 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by tofupiano
785: Binaural CFX and bosendorfer. Mystery action that might have been upgraded enough to be competitive with N1X?
Never purchase anything you have a question mark next to smile
And no - it feels nothing like the N1X (much heavier feel). Basically it feels like a Yamaha upright, not a grand. If they'd called it 'UprightTouch' that would be a fairly accurate description!

Originally Posted by tofupiano
N1X: Great action, binaural CFX only
Don't try to deceive yourself: you will mainly use the CFX not the Bosendorfer as it's a better piano. Professional pianists choose the Yamaha because it's a better sound for most music.

Last edited by Burkey; 11/01/20 03:50 AM.

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Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
tofupiano #3041632 11/01/20 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tofupiano
Please, save me. Thanks very much.

Hi TofuPiano,

I have been in your shoes a few months ago. I would confidently HIGHLY recommend you go Hybrid. Especially for someone like you who played high end acoustic grands.

If it is not a financial burden, go hybrid without a bit of hesitation. N1X or NV10.


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Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
Burkey #3041640 11/01/20 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkey
Don't try to deceive yourself: you will mainly use the CFX not the Bosendorfer as it's a better piano. Professional pianists choose the Yamaha because it's a better sound for most music.
Perhaps not all professional pianists would agree with you on that.

Last edited by johanibraaten; 11/01/20 04:55 AM.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein
Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
johanibraaten #3041644 11/01/20 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by johanibraaten
Originally Posted by Burkey
Don't try to deceive yourself: you will mainly use the CFX not the Bosendorfer as it's a better piano. Professional pianists choose the Yamaha because it's a better sound for most music.
Perhaps not all professional pianists would agree with you on that.
In English, 'most music' means more than 50% of music, so you would need there to be more music recorded on a Bosendorfer piano than a Yamaha piano for your claim to be correct. Please provide evidence of your claim - I'll be happy if you can prove me wrong smile

Note also that we are talking about all genres of music, not just classical.

I myself don't much like the Yamaha sound, however you have to concede that it is popular amongst most musicians.

Last edited by Burkey; 11/01/20 05:10 AM.

Piano is one of the best human inventions of the past 320 years - help evangelize the magic!
Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
Burkey #3041647 11/01/20 05:11 AM
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Huh? Either you're replying to the wrong post, or you're not thinking clearly.
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by johanibraaten
Originally Posted by Burkey
Don't try to deceive yourself: you will mainly use the CFX not the Bosendorfer as it's a better piano. Professional pianists choose the Yamaha because it's a better sound for most music.
Perhaps not all professional pianists would agree with you on that.
In English, 'most music' means more than 50% of music, so you would need there to be more music recorded on a Bosendorfer piano than a Yamaha piano for your claim to be correct. Please provide evidence of your claim - I'll be happy if you can prove me wrong smile

Note also that we are talking about all genres of music, not just classical.

Re: Save my sanity: CLP-785 vs CA-99 vs N1X vs ...
Burkey #3041651 11/01/20 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by johanibraaten
Originally Posted by Burkey
Don't try to deceive yourself: you will mainly use the CFX not the Bosendorfer as it's a better piano. Professional pianists choose the Yamaha because it's a better sound for most music.
Perhaps not all professional pianists would agree with you on that.
In English, 'most music' means more than 50% of music, so you would need there to be more music recorded on a Bosendorfer piano than a Yamaha piano for your claim to be correct. Please provide evidence of your claim - I'll be happy if you can prove me wrong smile

Note also that we are talking about all genres of music, not just classical.

I myself don't much like the Yamaha sound, however you have to concede that it is popular amongst most musicians.
I said that perhaps not all professional pianists would agree that a Yamaha CFX is a better piano than the Bösendorfer imperial, and perhaps these pianists don't take number of recordings in account.

Last edited by johanibraaten; 11/01/20 05:18 AM.

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