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Joined: Oct 2021
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ediegus Offline OP
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I start this thread to comment on my experience with Yamaha NU1X. I've had it for three months now. I am an amateur pianist with an intermediate level and I owned a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-120 for 16 years. In the last years I used it with Pianoteq constantly. To change model I decided to study the market among the different brands and models and now I want to expose the keys of my choice:

Action: starting from a very proven mechanics and with good overall result as was the GH (and its subsequent updates GH3, NWX) I was aiming for a clear improvement both in sensations and in long term results. I consider that the GH action was good at the time but is now totally outdated. It is hard action and the metal spring effect totally takes you away from the acoustic feel. Also the constant breakage of white keys made me think about the new action being a full wood key which forced me to rule out a new Clavinova and Grandtouch: the key is still plastic mounted on a plastic frame.
I had the opportunity to try the Kawai and Casio simulated actions: the experience was very good and with a very velvety touch. But in my case it still needed more realism as I kept noticing that it was simulated. IMO I think these actions with the mechanics at the tip of the key are a qualitative leap compared to the GH or Grandtouch type compacts. In today's DP concept, there is no need to compact the action. The current cabinet has enough space to fit "unfolded" actions.
In the case of hybrid actions, the number of models and brands is greatly reduced, only Yamaha and Kawai, at least in Spain. The hybrid Grand Piano models were already discarded for price reasons, so I only had the vertical option available in the NU1X and the NV5 (without "s" because it was released later). After testing the two, the technical differences for me are minimal but in the price difference the NU1X won with 1000 euros in its favor. I think the NU1X action is quite smooth and responds very well. It is still a small conventional piano action, although it is basic (similar to a Yamaha B2). Yamaha has assembled this action for the last 20 years first in the DUP series, predecessor of the Avantgrand (I think only sold in Asia) and later in the NU1, so it has had a long road of consolidation.

Sound: As I said I came from the VST world, with Pianoteq bought from version 5 in 2014. I think that although it is not totally perfect it is very close to my idea of ideal sound and has very nice sounding pianos. You can also make a lot of adjustments and changes. It is also upgradable (for a fee) and I hope it stays that way. This makes a tough competition to the internal piano sounds, which will become outdated sooner or later. Regarding the Kawai sounds, IMO they are good sounds but they are lacking in nuance which makes them somewhat cold. My experience testing the CA-99 and NV5 was that they did not have that character or imprint that Yamaha's CFX and Bosendorfer have. The binaural effect is especially accomplished and creates a very pleasant ambience.
Continuing with the loudspeakers, in the tests I was able to do I also found nothing to justify the 1000 euros more than the NV5 and its transducers / soundboard. It is not the same experience I had with the Yamaha Transacustic where the resonance effect of the real strings totally changes the recorded sound. Right now I think this system has to evolve, get better and cheaper to totally replace the conventional loudspeaker system. This is probably the big difference between a PD of today and those of the future.

Connectivity: In this forum I also found a lot of information about the connection problems with the NV5 and NV10 to use them with Pianoteq and how easy it is to use it in the Yamaha NU1X: just install the Yamaha - Steinberg driver and choose it in the Pianoteq options. No latency / cracks problems and maximum digital sound quality with just the USB cable both through speakers and headphones. The integrated Bluetooth works very well and without problems.

Interface: As has also been commented in this forum, the user interface of the Yamaha NU1X (and that of the N1X, which is practically the same) is quite dull and unfriendly compared to others with color screens. But this makes that, once you learn any command, it is the fastest and most comfortable: they are "keyboard shortcuts" in piano version that overcome any kind of interface with menus. I sincerely believe this makes the NU1X much more durable in appearance and use when in a few years Kawai's interface models change and the NV5's interface looks outdated. It is also another source of potential electronic or computer glitches. If you want Kawai style display you can install the Yamaha app that does exactly the same thing.

Piano finish: I can only say that it is perfect and there are no faults. Regarding the NV5, the only downside to the exterior is that I didn't like the fabric on the top, which I think could be another point that could deteriorate. As good as it is, it is still a fabric compared to the full board of the NU1X.

In my opinion the Yamaha NU1X was my best choice for the above reasons and I purchased the piano 3 months ago. In this time I have been able to enjoy it extensively and I am very happy with the purchase. Regarding the "loud note" issue I think it is corrected in normal use of the piano. My NU1X has been played by two professional pianists and we do not appreciate it. In my case I am only aware that this problem exists because I inquired on the forum but I have not noticed it in normal use. I hope this review will be useful to other buyers interested in this model and we can discuss it on the forum.

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I have had my NU1X for almost 3 years and I would still get it again. At the time I hadn't considered using any VST's just based on the discussions about latency, loop back etc. on these boards with other DPs. I was pleasantly surprised that it was as easy to connect as you mentioned. Just download the Yamaha driver, connect via USB cable and that's it. It just works. Also while it wasn't something I had considered at the time I am also pleased that the speakers are not coming out of the top of the unit. Being able to stack clutter up there makes it more "piano like". smile

Last edited by Peddler100; 10/12/21 04:15 PM.

Yamaha NU1X, Sennheiser HD 599 headphones, PianoTeq Studio Steinway Model D and Petrof instrument packs
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Thanks for the great review, although my Yamaha p515 has plenty of use left in it and does have CFX and Bosendorfer samples (although I gather that they have been upgraded since the 515 came out) but the temptation to get a hybrid is strong and, although I have a Yamaha dealer within range of my home (with the NU1X on sale!) I don’t have a Kawai dealer near me and I am glad to hear your perspective on a hands on comparison. I am glad that you gave your new piano a 3 month trial period as well, as initial reactions can change.

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ediegus Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Peddler100
I have had my NU1X for almost 3 years and I would still get it again. At the time I hadn't considered using any VST's just based on the discussions about latency, loop back etc. on these boards with other DPs. I was pleasantly surprised that it was as easy to connect as you mentioned. Just download the Yamaha driver, connect via USB cable and that's it. It just works. Also while it wasn't something I had considered at the time I am also pleased that the speakers are not coming out of the top of the unit. Being able to stack clutter up there makes it more "piano like". smile


As far as connectivity is concerned, it's great. In addition to that, you have to disconnect the keyboard with the command Funtion + C6 "Local control".

I don't quite understand the design of the Kawai with the fabric surface on the top, I think it should have been a lid like a conventional upright piano and when necessary open it in the style of the Casio GP-500 series.

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Originally Posted by Peddler100
I have had my NU1X for almost 3 years and I would still get it again. At the time I hadn't considered using any VST's just based on the discussions about latency, loop back etc. on these boards with other DPs. I was pleasantly surprised that it was as easy to connect as you mentioned. Just download the Yamaha driver, connect via USB cable and that's it. It just works. Also while it wasn't something I had considered at the time I am also pleased that the speakers are not coming out of the top of the unit. Being able to stack clutter up there makes it more "piano like". smile

Things must/ve got better on the Steinberg app since I used it on the P515. . . .


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ediegus Offline OP
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Originally Posted by teb1013
Thanks for the great review, although my Yamaha p515 has plenty of use left in it and does have CFX and Bosendorfer samples (although I gather that they have been upgraded since the 515 came out) but the temptation to get a hybrid is strong and, although I have a Yamaha dealer within range of my home (with the NU1X on sale!) I don’t have a Kawai dealer near me and I am glad to hear your perspective on a hands on comparison. I am glad that you gave your new piano a 3 month trial period as well, as initial reactions can change.


I have preferred to give my opinion with a little time to give a more realistic perspective, but the truth is that I have nothing bad to say about this model.

I would have liked something extra like the binaural sound of the Bosendorfer and the option to change the brightness that the N1X has and that I think there is no reason for the NU1X not to have it.

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What a great review thanks!
I have been in the same process of deciding between an NU1X, NV5, CA-99 or CLP785.
All very different, yet there are similarities between the models.
I chose the NU1X after playing them all multiple times. I liked the feel of it the most. I played an NV5s couple days ago and it was very nice, too!
But like you said for me it just didn't justify the price difference.

Then I hooked up my MacBook Air (from 2014) with a USB cable... didn't install any drivers and just picked the AvantGrand as an output and boy did Pianoteq and Ravenscroft275 sound GOOD on the NU1X. I actually did not have this feeling with any other piano so far... they only sounded good through their internal sound samples.
I do believe that the KAWAI SK-EX sounds better than the CFX because it's a newer sample. Again on headphones the CFX sounded so freaking good with my Beyerdynamic 990 pro.

I guess in the end you gotta choose what you like and how you feel and of course how much money each instrument is worth to you.


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Hello,

@ediegus, Thank you for your very nice and informative report!

Cheers and the happiest playing,

HZ


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