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Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc.

Posted By: Spno

Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/13/19 11:44 PM

Just as a main practice piano which would you recommend and why? (i.e. forget convenience etc. features of the N1X)...a real baby grand is out of the question (space)...N1X as that's a price limit; I'd hope to get a decent U3 or something similar for about the same or a little less...thanks!
Posted By: backto_study_piano

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 12:00 AM

I did my diploma on a 1977 UX which was near new at the time. It's essentially a U3, but the premium YAMAHA upright at the time.

I'd be using an acoustic if possible - you will do the exam on a Grand I'd assume, and other pianos at your teacher's, Masterclasses etc will almost certainly be acoustic.

The temptation with a hybrid or digital is to adjust the volume - and that can change the way you play.

[I remember my teacher telling me of a student who always played middle D very loud (and a few other notes, but not so bad) - my teacher ended up working that at home, the piano was faulty and required significantly more force to play D. The student learned to play perfectly on the faulty piano, but had trouble adapting to my teacher's good piano.]
Posted By: Seeker

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 12:13 AM

Well, both the U3 and the N1X have "upright" actions, so, I'd go with the U3, because it is an acoustic.
If you could find a used N2 at a great price, one could argue this could be better than the U3, because the N2 has a grand action.
I've played the N1, N2 and the N3. I liked the feel and sound of the N2 better than the N1.
The N2 is, IMO (please don't scream at me fellow PianoWorlders if you disagree), in the sweet spot for performance vs. price in the Yamaha hybrid lineup.
Posted By: Spno

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 12:17 AM

"The temptation with a hybrid or digital is to adjust the volume - and that can change the way you play." Ironically, I find I always end up adjusting the volume on a digital to about the same as an acoustic...maybe a little under. But I know what u mean.

I'm actually really good at noticing problems with pianos, too good for my own good to be honest...but I can adjust given a bit of time...although not on the fly like some.

I much prefer a grand action to an upright action, it's apples and oranges to me...but I wonder if you're still better off with a real piano, even with an inferior action...
Posted By: Spno

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 12:26 AM

Originally Posted by Seeker
Well, both the U3 and the N1X have "upright" actions, so, I'd go with the U3, because it is an acoustic.
If you could find a used N2 at a great price, one could argue this could be better than the U3, because the N2 has a grand action.


N1X is the new N1. Grand action. https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/avantgrand/n1x/features.html

...I have heard the N2 is great, but out of my budget...
Posted By: Learux

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 12:41 AM

It depends, will you be able to get in more practice time on the digital it is porobably the better choice?

Being able to turn down the volume is also a plus.

I have very little problem going from digital back to acoustic and vice versa.
Posted By: Spno

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 01:04 AM

Originally Posted by Learux
It depends, will you be able to get in more practice time on the digital it is porobably the better choice?

Being able to turn down the volume is also a plus.

I have very little problem going from digital back to acoustic and vice versa.


Actually much of muchness for the time being...I have a rickety 19th century upright and no complaints so far...I would have a digital piano if I got the U3, for writing etc., but I would sell my RD2000/upright to fund either for now...slightly thinking ahead that the N1X would be more flexible down the road...but actually, lets leave it as just one on one as a piano for the sake of this discussion (when I get to that road, a U3 would be easy to sell if necessary).
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 03:46 AM

Originally Posted by Seeker
Well, both the U3 and the N1X have "upright" actions, so, I'd go with the U3, because it is an acoustic.
If you could find a used N2 at a great price, one could argue this could be better than the U3, because the N2 has a grand action.
I've played the N1, N2 and the N3. I liked the feel and sound of the N2 better than the N1.
The N2 is, IMO (please don't scream at me fellow PianoWorlders if you disagree), in the sweet spot for performance vs. price in the Yamaha hybrid lineup.


You're probably thinking of the NU1/NU1X, which is a hybrid with an upright action. The N1X, as spno describes, has a grand action.

The N2 also hasn't been updated in 10 years. The N1X and N3X are new, with update sound engines and other new features.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 05:25 AM

I would suggest a U3 or a Kawai K500.Of course if you could get a used YUS5 or (used)European
130 sized piano with very good repetition qualities that would be great.Best wishes on your diploma
studies and practice.
Posted By: Rich Galassini

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 10:18 AM

Originally Posted by Spno
Just as a main practice piano which would you recommend and why? (i.e. forget convenience etc. features of the N1X)...a real baby grand is out of the question (space)...N1X as that's a price limit; I'd hope to get a decent U3 or something similar for about the same or a little less...thanks!


Great question. Both instruments will perform (assuming you find a U3 you like). I have professional musicians and colleges using this hybrid technology because of the advantages the technology brings to the table (small space, full acoustic action, very little maintenance, private practice possible).

I think it is all about what you find and what you prefer. After all, it is YOUR piano.

All the best on your studies - and keep us posted!
Posted By: U3piano

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 11:49 AM

My opinion is if you can afford it, and don't need to be silent.. definitely go for the acoustic.

An acoustic is just a more inspiring instrument, and that's what's makes you want to come back.

I have both. An U3, and a CP33 with 2 good vst's as a silent option. Now my silent option is no hybrid grand, i know that, but the U3 is so much nicer it's no competition at all.

To me, digital sound gets boring after a while, no matter how good it is. Acoustic sound doesn't.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 12:36 PM

Spno - Get whichever instrument you feel most comfortable with doing all your required practice. If most of the tests and recitals are preformed on acoustics, get the U3. Although not a grand action it is much closer to the feel of the pianos on which you’ll be expected to perform. If you feel confident that you can transition easily from the N1X to acoustic grands for recitals and MasterClass and you like silent practice then get the N1X.
I took several semesters of piano at the University and practiced on my baby grand and later my C3. It always gave me a nice boost of confidence because most of my significantly younger classmates had to fight for time in the practice rooms or practice on some small keyboards in their dorm rooms.
Go to a piano store and play a U3, then check the change in feel to a piano you’re likely to encounter for recitals. Then do the same thing with the N1X. Your fingers and ears will tell you which piano will better prepare you for further piano education.
The one advantage the N1X will give you is it never needs tuning. I plan my whole day around getting my piano tuned, voiced, and regulated. But that’s me and I’m a piano nerd. Best wishes on your piano journey!
Posted By: Spno

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 03:24 PM

Some great comments there, food for thought, thanks!

The K500/YUS5 are nice OK...U3 not a given, if I go upright it'll be something that comes up in that ballpark.

I kinda agree that the sound of a digital gets boring after a while, it's a good point, although I do love a grand action...but maybe the U3 would work out better, as I do lose concentration easily...I notice practicing on a baby grand, if I lose concentration I can take a break by improvising or just playing some easy pieces and that connects you again.

That said, I had a CLP... years ago and it worked well as a practice instrument...as it just always worked, it was easy to practice on in a very formal way, and the volume control was handy for night-time...but that was years ago...and I didn't enjoy improvising or playing it much.

Good point re jumping between all three, grand, upright, hybrid in the same place...I'll have to travel abroad to do that, but it would be worth doing OK.

My current upright has really had it, got it tuned two weeks ago and it's already getting annoying...it's about 120 years old, it was hanging in there until this year, like a tuning would last a few months anyway, but it's finally passed the winter of its life...anyway it's not something I'm going to jump into...
Posted By: U3piano

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 04:14 PM

It doesn't have to be a U3 of course.


I live in Holland, and i like to check the second hand market. In a few months i have seen 2 really nice Sauter uprights offered for about 3000 to 5000 euro's. Right now there is a Sauter 120 r2 (1988) for just 3000 euro. If i didn't already have a piano i would be checking that out right now!

I haven't played a Sauter yet but i read so many positive things about them that it's already one of the best in my mind. Don't they also have that magnetic thing in the action for better repetition? (that could be nice for a "diploma" piano?)
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 04:39 PM

Sauter pianos make use of of the double repetition action.I find it is very similar to grand action..
I was trying out some baby grand pianos the other day and yes very similar.The tonal qualities
of a 130 Sauter piano is better than most small grands by far.
Seiler and Steingraeber 130 uprights have magnetic repetition action which also work well.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/14/19 04:45 PM

Seiler has provided an 130 Indonesian made facsimile of the German made one which has the magnetic action .There is an excellent article of it in Piano Buyer.
Posted By: Seeker

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/15/19 12:02 PM

Originally Posted by Spno
Originally Posted by Seeker
Well, both the U3 and the N1X have "upright" actions, so, I'd go with the U3, because it is an acoustic.
If you could find a used N2 at a great price, one could argue this could be better than the U3, because the N2 has a grand action.


N1X is the new N1. Grand action. https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/avantgrand/n1x/features.html

...I have heard the N2 is great, but out of my budget...

My bad.
I was thinking of the NU-1 which has the upright action.
I have played ALL of the ones in the lineup about a year ago - NU-1, N1, N2, N3.
As I wrote earlier, the N2, particularly if you can get it at a discount, is where I would go.
The university where I was teaching piano bought several hybrids, and they are holding up well under institutional use.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/15/19 08:23 PM

Yes but they all have the standardized tone of digital piano.How does this go with
someone prepairing to do an advanced exam.What kind of aural imagination
will they lose out on.What will happen when faced with an accoustic grand to perform on ?
We knew someone who prepared for a performer's diploma and practiced on a Samick
upright.Yes he did extremely well !
You speak of every upright as if it is a"clanker in a church hall .
Yet I suppose you can have this candidate practice on an N2 .He better listen to a great deal
of CD's because he is going to be awfully bored listening to himself when practice's.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/15/19 09:06 PM

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Yes but they all have the standardized tone of digital piano.How does this go with
someone prepairing to do an advanced exam.What kind of aural imagination
will they lose out on.What will happen when faced with an accoustic grand to perform on ?
We knew someone who prepared for a performer's diploma and practiced on a Samick
upright.Yes he did extremely well !
You speak of every upright as if it is a"clanker in a church hall .
Yet I suppose you can have this candidate practice on an N2 .He better listen to a great deal
of CD's because he is going to be awfully bored listening to himself when practice's.


Digital pianos and hybrids have improved tremendously over the last 5 years. They can be incredibly expressive as the student learn how to play quietly. With the new hybrids it take a whole lotta time to get bored. You can mix voices, output to midi, run the recording to your GarageBand, and set up your own YouTube channel. For me, playing on my older digital, is always easier even if I use the heaviest action.
I seem to remember the hybrids I played last had a much better keyboard and action than any digital. Truthfully it was the sound that was unconvincing when I played it compared it to acoustic grands. I was reading about Yamaha’s Transacoustic pianos??? But I think they’re really expensive. The most important thing for diploma work is practice. Daily consistent practice on a piano. Every day. No excuses. A good upright, a good hybrid, a high quality digital will all work. So a U3, an Indonesian Seiler, a Kawai, or even a Yamaha N1X. Just my 2 cents.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/15/19 09:39 PM

Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Yes but they all have the standardized tone of digital piano.How does this go with
someone prepairing to do an advanced exam.What kind of aural imagination
will they lose out on.What will happen when faced with an accoustic grand to perform on ?
We knew someone who prepared for a performer's diploma and practiced on a Samick
upright.Yes he did extremely well !
You speak of every upright as if it is a"clanker in a church hall .
Yet I suppose you can have this candidate practice on an N2 .He better listen to a great deal
of CD's because he is going to be awfully bored listening to himself when practice's.


Digital pianos and hybrids have improved tremendously over the last 5 years. They can be incredibly expressive as the student learn how to play quietly. With the new hybrids it take a whole lotta time to get bored. You can mix voices, output to midi, run the recording to your GarageBand, and set up your own YouTube channel. For me, playing on my older digital, is always easier even if I use the heaviest action.
I seem to remember the hybrids I played last had a much better keyboard and action than any digital. Truthfully it was the sound that was unconvincing when I played it compared it to acoustic grands. I was reading about Yamaha’s Transacoustic pianos??? But I think they’re really expensive. The most important thing for diploma work is practice. Daily consistent practice on a piano. Every day. No excuses. A good upright, a good hybrid, a high quality digital will all work. So a U3, an Indonesian Seiler, a Kawai, or even a Yamaha N1X. Just my 2 cents.

I disagree. You can give an artist a set of paints in standard colours BUT if for some reason you CANNOT mix those colours.It may suite some sort of contemporary art style but for many other styles you will not be successful! Apart from this the artist will become extremely bored.
Then give him a set of paints he can mix ----blue greys,greenish grey ,unusual blue green colours.
See his imagination take fire !
A standardized sound is numbing if that is all you are going to use day after day.
I know what good digital pianos sound like.They may be very useful when there is no opportunity
for an accoustic piano.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/16/19 06:32 AM

Very well I agree perhaps I am being subjective about this
N2 or the N1X that J&J mentioned .Perhaps these will be fine .
Perhaps I am old fashioned .,I do not know.
So J&J you could be correct.If it was me however I would choose
an accoustic if I intended working for another diploma in music
but that is just me and I have never tried an N2.piano.
I realise I tend to be over idealistic when comes to piano tone.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/16/19 12:53 PM

Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Very well I agree perhaps I am being subjective about this
N2 or the N1X that J&J mentioned .Perhaps these will be fine .
Perhaps I am old fashioned .,I do not know.
So J&J you could be correct.If it was me however I would choose
an accoustic if I intended working for another diploma in music
but that is just me and I have never tried an N2.piano.
I realise I tend to be over idealistic when comes to piano tone.

Hi LadyBird - I do agree with you. If it were me, I too would buy an acoustic upright over a digital any day. Even over the hybrids I tried 7 years ago, although the hybrids were much better than your average digital with weighted actions. Digitals and hybrids improve much more rapidly than acoustic technology, so I would probably be very surprised and hopefully delighted with an N1X. As I mentioned to the OP, it would be ideal to find a Yamaha or Kawai dealer and compare the hybrids and acoustic uprights to an acoustic grand which Spno would likely encounter for recitals or exams. Sadly the OP can’t do that. If it were me I’d go the U3 route. An acoustic does give me better command of my repertoire and more confidence. But it’s not you or me. I wish the OP the best fortune on his musical adventure. Whichever piano Spno chooses, it has to be something that will support hours and hours of concentrated practice. And IMHO, practice effort and practice time count more than which piano the OP chooses
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/16/19 03:59 PM

It would be nice to hear how the OP is getting on trying all
of these instruments accoustic ,hybrids whatever.
Posted By: Lady Bird

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/17/19 01:23 AM

The U3 can be a lovely sounding piano ! I know I once nearly bought one
before we decided on getting a European piano !
Posted By: Spno

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/18/19 12:25 AM

Plan is to check out the N1X and see how I feel about it first, I'll kinda know if it will work for me or not if I get an hour or so on one...I have tried literally every "normal" top-end digital out there at the moment, (CLPs/CAs/GPs...MP11 etc.), even a NU1X, none of them made the cut for me as a piano replacement...I went with a RD2000 last year as I thought it was the best bang for buck, and most resell-able...the sound engine has a bit of life to it and the action isn't that bad; it's grand to do a bit of practice on, and it's great for composition with the computer etc. But even when the upright is dog out of tune I still gravitate to it.

Anyway, if I write off the hybrids, then I'll start trawling the secondhand market for uprights, basically whatever is decent and comes my way at a good price...something like a 90/00s U3; that will last me for many years to come kinda thing. It does seem like these hybrids are considered serious instruments, which is cool...this is really a long term plan; I think it'll be after christmas kinda thing, maybe this time next year even...but when I get a chance to play a N1X etc., I will drop back and post my thoughts.
Posted By: Spno

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/18/19 01:10 AM

...by the way, I had thought between my dodgy upright and the RD2000, I'd be grand for the next while...but since it went out of tune so quickly this time (2 weeks!), and the tuner seemed pretty wrecked after tuning it (and this guy is really good), it looks like it's finally just taken a turn for the worst...which kinda wrecked my ad interim plan.
Posted By: j&j

Re: Yamaha U3 (secondhand) or N1X for diploma work? LLCM etc. - 08/18/19 07:25 PM

Spno - just to show I’m not too terribly old school acoustic only, I found a link in my email to the latest Kawai hybrids. They do look cool.
Kawai NV5
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