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Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2

Posted By: Patrick Cox

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 11:15 AM

I currently have a Yamaha AvantGrand N2 and a YUS5 acoustic. And I end up playing the N2 probably 10 to 1 over the acoustic simply because I can practice and not disturb anyone in the house. So I have been thinking about trading both in and stepping up to an N3X. So my question is really for those who have played an older and new generation AvantGrand. Is the newer X series a significant upgrade over the prior generation AG? What are you getting on the newer pianos?

Thanks!
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 11:29 AM

I can't comment on comparison between the older generation and the newer because I've never compared them side by side but since you mention that you mostly play the N2 for silent practicing I would assume you use headphones. If that's the case, the N3X would be an overkill and you can also check the N1X which has the same keyboard and piano engine. Also, for headphone usage, the X-generation utilize binaural CFX samples that are almost universally acclaimed. However if you still play through speakers and require better realism, the N3X would be better than N1X.
Posted By: robinlb

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 12:16 PM

Why not consider Yamaha C1X TA2?
Should be better than old N3X and Acoustic within DP 2in1.
Posted By: Doug M.

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 12:51 PM

Originally Posted by Patrick Cox
I currently have a Yamaha AvantGrand N2 and a YUS5 acoustic. And I end up playing the N2 probably 10 to 1 over the acoustic simply because I can practice and not disturb anyone in the house. So I have been thinking about trading both in and stepping up to an N3X. So my question is really for those who have played an older and new generation AvantGrand. Is the newer X series a significant upgrade over the prior generation AG? What are you getting on the newer pianos?

Thanks!


You'll need to test them Patrick. The N*X models have better sampling for starters. You'd definitely want to hear that before deciding.

Kind regards,

Doug.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 01:37 PM

Originally Posted by robinlb
Why not consider Yamaha C1X TA2?
Should be better than old N3X and Acoustic within DP 2in1.

But if the OP plays 91% with headphones and 9% without, why does get an acoustical piano at all? He'll have to be constantly tuning it just to be able to play his 9% without headphones. Let's even say the OP plays an hour a day, seven days a week. That means he plays on the order of 35 mins a week without headphones. Is all that tuning going to be worth 3.5 hours a month of piano playing? Or conversely, playing on a piano which gets more and more detuned over time if he doesn't tune it? In the OPs situation, I would definitely be considering N3X over C1X-TA2.

(Of course, the calculus changes if the OP plays without headphones more than 9% of the time.)
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 01:48 PM

If you have an acoustic then play the acoustic. And get rid of the digital.

Can't play the acoustic late at night? So what? Play it all the day long. At night ... just sleep.

Simple.
Posted By: robinlb

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 02:05 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by robinlb
Why not consider Yamaha C1X TA2?
Should be better than old N3X and Acoustic within DP 2in1.

But if the OP plays 91% with headphones and 9% without, why does get an acoustical piano at all? He'll have to be constantly tuning it just to be able to play his 9% without headphones. Let's even say the OP plays an hour a day, seven days a week. That means he plays on the order of 35 mins a week without headphones. Is all that tuning going to be worth 3.5 hours a month of piano playing? Or conversely, playing on a piano which gets more and more detuned over time if he doesn't tune it? In the OPs situation, I would definitely be considering N3X over C1X-TA2.

(Of course, the calculus changes if the OP plays without headphones more than 9% of the time.)


IMO, if 91% with headphone, N3x is waste not only for C1X TA2.
In this situation, N1x is enough.
But if consider playback out, transducer soundboard of TA2 is better than normal speakers in N3x obviously.
Remember buy new, not old for Japanese products.
Posted By: enzo.sandrolini

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 02:25 PM

Why not considering using VST with your N2 ?
I have a N2, and what I want to go with headphones, I use Pianoteq Or Ivory.
I indeed, cannot stand the internal sound of the N2 thru headphones, while it is Ok thru the internal speakers.

Cheers
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 02:26 PM

Originally Posted by robinlb
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by robinlb
Why not consider Yamaha C1X TA2?
Should be better than old N3X and Acoustic within DP 2in1.

But if the OP plays 91% with headphones and 9% without, why does get an acoustical piano at all? He'll have to be constantly tuning it just to be able to play his 9% without headphones. Let's even say the OP plays an hour a day, seven days a week. That means he plays on the order of 35 mins a week without headphones. Is all that tuning going to be worth 3.5 hours a month of piano playing? Or conversely, playing on a piano which gets more and more detuned over time if he doesn't tune it? In the OPs situation, I would definitely be considering N3X over C1X-TA2.

(Of course, the calculus changes if the OP plays without headphones more than 9% of the time.)


IMO, if 91% with headphone, N3x is waste not only for C1X TA2.
In this situation, N1x is enough.
But if consider playback out, transducer soundboard of TA2 is better than normal speakers in N3x obviously.
Remember buy new, not old for Japanese products.

Excellent point! For a person not using headphones only 9% of the time, the only things the N3X offers that might be relevant is the vibrating keys and the ivory-like key surfaces, both not worth the extra money. In fact the N1X has a Steinberg external audio interface which the N3X doesn't have.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 03:27 PM

10:1 sounds like a lot, but if you're playing the acoustic at volume once a week or so, it definitely makes sense to test the N3X against the N1X and see if the improved speakers and soundboard matter to you.

Also, since you're in the hybrid market, you might want to find the Kawai NV-10 and try that as well. We've had a couple of AvantGrand and acoustic owners switch over to the Novus on the strength of the action.
Posted By: Pete14

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 04:09 PM

There’s also the GC1 TA2 as a cheaper alternative to the C1X TA2.
Also, regarding the N3X “soundboard”, can we really call it a soundboard? It seems more like a gimmick as compared to a real soundboard, or even compared to the Kawai soundboard/speaker system.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 04:25 PM

Originally Posted by Pete14

Also, regarding the N3X “soundboard”, can we really call it a soundboard? It seems more like a gimmick as compared to a real soundboard, or even compared to the Kawai soundboard/speaker system.


Shrug, no idea there. But the N3 is often credited with being over if, if not the best sounding DP available, so it's definitely got some chops in the amplification/speaker dept. Not sure how much is that is attributed to the soundboard...
Posted By: robinlb

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 05:15 PM

Originally Posted by Pete14
There’s also the GC1 TA2 as a cheaper alternative to the C1X TA2.
Also, regarding the N3X “soundboard”, can we really call it a soundboard? It seems more like a gimmick as compared to a real soundboard, or even compared to the Kawai soundboard/speaker system.


Socalled soundboard on N3x is only a vibrator that transmit some feelings to player, not real soundboard speaker on TA2/Aures or Kawai CA/CS.
I agree upright models like GC1TA2 or K500Aures also in the opinional range.
Of course, C1x/C3X TA2 more better.
Posted By: Pete14

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 05:30 PM

The GC1 TA2 is a baby grand (not an upright).
I believe the differences between it and the C1X TA2 have to do with better hammers, and perhaps other slight (strings?) refinements in the C1X TA2.
I’m not sure if there’s any difference in the soundboard and action between the two; if not, the GC1 TA2 offers the best value (if one will be using it mostly as a digital).
Posted By: Dave Ferris

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 06:41 PM

Originally Posted by Patrick Cox
So my question is really for those who have played an older and new generation AvantGrand. Is the newer X series a significant upgrade over the prior generation AG?


For a short time, Keyboard Concepts had the NX3, N3 and N2 on the floor. The clarity and richness of the NX3 was overwhelmingly obvious within 30 seconds of playing them all.

I've always preferred the N2 to the N3 , but the N3X is a significant upgrade to both to my ears. It closer emulates a quality Acoustic grand experience. I could definitely put in some productive hours on the N3X -- even at a softer volume.

I just heard the speakers, I didn't use any phones.
Posted By: vara411

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 06:43 PM

Originally Posted by robinlb
Originally Posted by Pete14
There’s also the GC1 TA2 as a cheaper alternative to the C1X TA2.
Also, regarding the N3X “soundboard”, can we really call it a soundboard? It seems more like a gimmick as compared to a real soundboard, or even compared to the Kawai soundboard/speaker system.


Socalled soundboard on N3x is only a vibrator that transmit some feelings to player, not real soundboard speaker on TA2/Aures or Kawai CA/CS.
I agree upright models like GC1TA2 or K500Aures also in the opinional range.
Of course, C1x/C3X TA2 more better.


Incorrect. The N3X does indeed have an actual soundboard, AND transducers that vibrate the keybed (mostly applicable with headphone use). I do echo everyone's sentiments about not bothering with the N3X if 90% of playing will be with headphones. The binaural CFX sampling sounds great on my N3X, but is that enough to trade up two pianos? Hmm... not so sure.
Posted By: Pete14

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 10:29 PM

Just because Yamaha calls it a soundboard doesn’t make it a soundboard. Yes, I know that they use some form of transducer for the area closest to the music stand, but it’s a very small area as compared even to a modified -Kawai- soundboard.
At best, we can call it a mini-sound-thing. wink
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 11:32 PM

Originally Posted by Pete14
At best, we can call it a mini-sound-thing. wink
Or a maxi-marketing thing.
Posted By: vara411

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/15/19 11:48 PM

Originally Posted by Pete14

At best, we can call it a mini-sound-thing. wink


Well then why didn't you just say so! We are now agreed. wink
Posted By: robinlb

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 01:04 AM

Originally Posted by Pete14
The GC1 TA2 is a baby grand (not an upright).
I believe the differences between it and the C1X TA2 have to do with better hammers, and perhaps other slight (strings?) refinements in the C1X TA2.
I’m not sure if there’s any difference in the soundboard and action between the two; if not, the GC1 TA2 offers the best value (if one will be using it mostly as a digital).


Yes, it's my mistake and I took it for granted that should be U1/YU/TA2 upright series.
GC1TA2 is another good choice for the topic.
In my memory, keyboard action of N~series is developed from GC1?
Posted By: robinlb

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 01:20 AM

Originally Posted by vara411
Originally Posted by robinlb
Originally Posted by Pete14
There’s also the GC1 TA2 as a cheaper alternative to the C1X TA2.
Also, regarding the N3X “soundboard”, can we really call it a soundboard? It seems more like a gimmick as compared to a real soundboard, or even compared to the Kawai soundboard/speaker system.


Socalled soundboard on N3x is only a vibrator that transmit some feelings to player, not real soundboard speaker on TA2/Aures or Kawai CA/CS.
I agree upright models like GC1TA2 or K500Aures also in the opinional range.
Of course, C1x/C3X TA2 more better.


Incorrect. The N3X does indeed have an actual soundboard, AND transducers that vibrate the keybed (mostly applicable with headphone use). I do echo everyone's sentiments about not bothering with the N3X if 90% of playing will be with headphones. The binaural CFX sampling sounds great on my N3X, but is that enough to trade up two pianos? Hmm... not so sure.


This socalled soundboard with transducer is only a vibrating simulator, I don't think it's a real soundboard as a functional loudspeaker in piano.
For TA2 and Aures, there are no normal speakers and full soundboard driven by transducer to make a sound.
Of course, Yamaha called it soundboard, it's OK for marketing.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 06:39 AM

Originally Posted by robinlb
This socalled soundboard with transducer is only a vibrating simulator, I don't think it's a real soundboard as a functional loudspeaker in piano.
For TA2 and Aures, there are no normal speakers and full soundboard driven by transducer to make a sound.
Of course, Yamaha called it soundboard, it's OK for marketing.

What is different in function and form between the N3X soundboard and a “real soundboard”? Both are made of wood and both transmit sound. Please elaborate.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 06:57 AM

I’ve tested N3 and CS11 side by side in a big German store some years ago. The sound from the CS11 was the typical Kawai bass-boomy mess. Needless to say N3 was the best digital piano I’ve ever played (not only in terms of touch but also) in terms of sound through speakers. It probably still is, bar N3X which I haven’t tried. Why should I care what a “proper” soundboard is when one piano sounds like a real acoustic piano and the other like an electronically amplified audio product.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:02 AM

So what good is a soundboard?

An acoustic has strings driving the soundboard. A digital has a 'ducer driving a soundboard.
So why bother having a soundboard if there are no strings, and only a 'ducer?
Let the 'ducer drive a cone ... as in "a speaker" ... and thereby do its own job properly, rather than doing a job it wasn't meant for?

Anyway ... I wasn't impressed by the CA98 soundboard.

Yes, the CA98 sounds better than its sister model that lacks the soundboard.
But only in that the latter sounds dull. It just needs some air. Some treble. Fixable with a proper speaker. No soundboard needed.

Is the soundboard just a means of obtaining "authenticity"? Or does it only produce "fake authenticity"? (How's that for an oxymoron?)
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:11 AM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
So what good is a soundboard?

An acoustic has strings driving the soundboard. A digital has a 'ducer driving a soundboard.
So why bother having a soundboard if there are no strings, and only a 'ducer?
Let the 'ducer drive a cone ... as in "a speaker" ... and thereby do its own job properly, rather than doing a job it wasn't meant for?

Anyway ... I wasn't impressed by the CA98 soundboard.

Yes, the CA98 sounds better than its sister model that lacks the soundboard.
But only in that the latter sounds dull. It just needs some air. Some treble. Fixable with a proper speaker. No soundboard needed.

Is the soundboard just a means of obtaining "authenticity"? Or does it only produce "fake authenticity"? (How's that for an oxymoron?)

If I didn't use headphones most of the time as I do, then I'd only care if it sounded more authentic (I mean who cares if it looks authentic or behaves authentically - it's "inside the box")
Posted By: Pete14

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:23 AM

Originally Posted by CyberGene
I’ve tested N3 and CS11 side by side in a big German store some years ago. The sound from the CS11 was the typical Kawai bass-boomy mess. Needless to say N3 was the best digital piano I’ve ever played (not only in terms of touch but also) in terms of sound through speakers. It probably still is, bar N3X which I haven’t tried. Why should I care what a “proper” soundboard is when one piano sounds like a real acoustic piano and the other like an electronically amplified audio product.


Money and space aside, would you prefer the N3 over your N1X?
Assuming you were to play it (hypothetically) through speakers only.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:28 AM

I feel the same way.
I don't care about the specs.
I don't care if it has a DAC with 8 bits or 16 bits or 33 and 1/3 bits.
I don't care if the sound is produced by a squirrel running on a treadmill (so long as he doesn't leave droppings).
I only care about the results.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
If I didn't use headphones most of the time as I do, then I'd only care if it sounded more authentic (I mean who cares if it looks authentic or behaves authentically - it's "inside the box")
... but I'd apply this thinking with or without headphones.
Posted By: robinlb

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:39 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by robinlb
This socalled soundboard with transducer is only a vibrating simulator, I don't think it's a real soundboard as a functional loudspeaker in piano.
For TA2 and Aures, there are no normal speakers and full soundboard driven by transducer to make a sound.
Of course, Yamaha called it soundboard, it's OK for marketing.

What is different in function and form between the N3X soundboard and a “real soundboard”? Both are made of wood and both transmit sound. Please elaborate.


The difference is that sound is coming from Normal speakers on N3x, and socalled soundboard is only transmit vibration to player even in silent mode by wearing headphone. It's only an experimental function for DP player.
But TA2 or Aures only use soundboard to produce sound by transducers. This is completely different.
We known, the soundboard is a loudspeaker for acoustic piano, TA2 or Aures is just simulating this special give out sound way, and can produce more natural sound than cone speakers.
It will represent an effective way for DP. That's why I recommend TA2 for the topic.
Posted By: ando

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:45 AM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
So what good is a soundboard?

An acoustic has strings driving the soundboard. A digital has a 'ducer driving a soundboard.
So why bother having a soundboard if there are no strings, and only a 'ducer?
Let the 'ducer drive a cone ... as in "a speaker" ... and thereby do its own job properly, rather than doing a job it wasn't meant for?

Anyway ... I wasn't impressed by the CA98 soundboard.

Yes, the CA98 sounds better than its sister model that lacks the soundboard.
But only in that the latter sounds dull. It just needs some air. Some treble. Fixable with a proper speaker. No soundboard needed.

Is the soundboard just a means of obtaining "authenticity"? Or does it only produce "fake authenticity"? (How's that for an oxymoron?)

Yep, it's a fake-ducer. A real soundboard functions not just by being a large surface area with a ribbed back and something shaking it. A real soundboard has crown, and down-bearing from tons of pressure from the strings. The board gets its response from the impedance derived from the crown being constrained by these large down bearing forces. The Kawai fake-ducer is not loaded in the correct way. It is more "suspended" - meaning it is low impedance, where a real soundboard is high impedance. The only constraint the fake-ducer has is the transducers which are point sources constraining the board at 1 (or 2, I think, depending on the model) point locations. A real soundboard has bridges traversing its entire width, which constrains the board and couples it properly to the mechanical vibrations.

So yeah, I'm going with fake. Even Kawai is admitting its fake because it needs a bunch of extra speakers to supplement its range. By their own admission, the soundboard is not a full range speaker - yet a real soundboard is full range. I call it a gimmick. Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates. I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up. Having played the Kawai models with soundboard, I don't think there is anything useful at play there except the speaker system - which is different to the models without soundboard anyway, making it impossible to attribute anything specific to the soundboard.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:53 AM

Originally Posted by ando
Yep, it's a fake-ducer. A real soundboard functions not just by being a large surface area with a ribbed back and something shaking it. A real soundboard has crown, and down-bearing from tons of pressure from the strings. The board gets its response from the impedance derived from the crown being constrained by these large down bearing forces. The Kawai fake-ducer is not loaded in the correct way. It is more "suspended" - meaning it is low impedance, where a real soundboard is high impedance. The only constraint the fake-ducer has is the transducers which are point sources constraining the board at 1 (or 2, I think, depending on the model) point locations. A real soundboard has bridges traversing its entire width, which constrains the board and couples it properly to the mechanical vibrations.

So yeah, I'm going with fake. Even Kawai is admitting its fake because it needs a bunch of extra speakers to supplement its range. By their own admission, the soundboard is not a full range speaker - yet a real soundboard is full range. I call it a gimmick. Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates. I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up. Having played the Kawai models with soundboard, I don't think there is anything useful at play there except the speaker system - which is different to the models without soundboard anyway, making it impossible to attribute anything specific to the soundboard.

It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company, Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.
Posted By: ando

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 10:57 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company, Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.

I'm sure it could be done, but it isn't being done by Kawai.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 11:34 AM

Is the soundboard of this Resonance Piano and better than that of the Kawai?
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company., Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.
Is a soundboard made by a real Italian piano soundboard company better than one made by a real Japanese piano soundboard company?
Posted By: ando

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 01:48 PM

Just for completeness' sake: It is possible to make a soundboard work with a transducer, but not with the rigid tall-rib design that Kawai is using. If you aren't using heavy down-bearing coupled with the tall-rib design, you need to use a lighter soundboard construction which is either ribless or lightly ribbed and low/no down-bearing. Steingraeber is doing some interesting things with soundboards and transducers. The Kawai design is designed for marketing purposes to resemble the back of an upright piano. It looks convincing, but it isn't effective as a sound producing element.
Posted By: vara411

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 04:37 PM

Haven't heard anything further from the OP... has this helped at all, Patrick Cox?

10,000 foot view: I absolutely love my N3X. It's the best digital piano I've ever played and heard... but that doesn't mean it's a good fit for YOU, especially if you use headphones the vast majority of the time. Let us know what you decide.
Posted By: vara411

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 04:43 PM

Originally Posted by ando

It's not like it is impossible to do correctly though. Here is one made by a real Italian piano soundboard company, Ciresa, who has made soundboards for 45 years.


The piano cabinet is gorgeous... but incorporating the digital keyboard into said design falls flat, as you can see in this video:

https://youtu.be/sjblX8wOm3s?t=123
Posted By: Dave Ferris

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 04:50 PM

Originally Posted by vara411
I absolutely love my N3X. It's the best digital piano I've ever played and heard...


After my A (N3)- B (N3X) - C (N2) comparison at Keyboard Concepts, I would agree. The N3X is the most inspiring I've played and heard. Again, the closest to a quality acoustic grand experience.


The N1X is very good too. Worth a consideration.
Posted By: Patrick Cox

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 05:43 PM

Wow, seems like I really stirred something up! 😂

Sorry I’m just now replying. I got busy and then I am now on a trip to NYC. I just had the chance to play an N3X at Faust. It is definitely a very nice instrument. I enjoyed the touch and then the extra sounds are nice to have. I know I can add sounds to my N2 with a computer but I’m not sure I want to get into all of that. It was hard for me to tell how much different the action was from my N2 though. I want to say the keys were just a bit more responsive but since they weren’t side by side I’m not sure.

Even though I mostly play with headphones, my reasoning for thinking about trading my acoustic and N2 is I really don’t play my acoustic as much as I should to hold onto it so my thought is I can have one piano that will do well with headphones and without and it is more current technology.

So thanks for the comments. I’ll probably play that N3X again and exercise it a bit more.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 05:45 PM

Originally Posted by ando
Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates.


Yamaha's specs (https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/pianos/avantgrand/n3x/specs.html#product-tabs) claim the N3X has a "Soundboard Resonator" (which its other AGs don't). They repeat the feature as one of its key features in the product overview.

Originally Posted by ando
I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up.


I don't think Kawai is making any magical claims either (but they do say more: https://kawaius.com/technology/soundboard-speaker-system/). What would Yamaha say if someone asked them what the special "Soundboard Resonator" does in the N3X? Would they say it does nothing? Or would they also say something along the lines of taking advantage of the resonant qualities of wood as it channels sound energy onto a real wooden soundboard to produce natural, organic tone?
Posted By: ando

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 06:08 PM

Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by ando
Yamaha's soundboard in the N3 is not trying to claim what Kawai is claiming. Their "soundboard" is actually just a mounting surface for the various speakers that are mounted to it - which are spread over its large area to reflect the sample recordings taken at the same coordinates.


Yamaha's specs (https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/pianos/avantgrand/n3x/specs.html#product-tabs) claim the N3X has a "Soundboard Resonator" (which its other AGs don't). They repeat the feature as one of its key features in the product overview.

Originally Posted by ando
I don't think Yamaha is claiming the board itself is imparting any magical properties to the sound - they attribute that to the speaker set up.


I don't think Kawai is making any magical claims either (but they do say more: https://kawaius.com/technology/soundboard-speaker-system/). What would Yamaha say if someone asked them what the special "Soundboard Resonator" does in the N3X? Would they say it does nothing? Or would they also say something along the lines of taking advantage of the resonant qualities of wood as it channels sound energy onto a real wooden soundboard to produce natural, organic tone?


Probably, marketing people gonna market - but the engineering on the Kawai soundboard is very suspect. If you wanted a soundboard to resonate properly using only 1 or 2 point source transducers, you don't add all those stiff ribs to the back of it. They are for cosmetic purposes and are designed for piano salespeople to point at and say, "hey look, a real piano soundboard!". It's part of the marketing snow job for piano realism - it's at least as effective as people using their actual ears. People like seeing parts they've seen on a real piano - even if they don't understand any of it. It helps sway them when they are a mess of confusion in trying to decide what to buy - plus it explains why the CA98 sounds so much bigger than the CA78, right? I have it first hand that this is how they are selling the CA98. When I first went to try the CA98/78 when they first came out, the salesman was really working the soundboard angle - he didn't even mention the much larger speaker system on the CA98. All the difference was attributed to the soundboard. It actuality, if you unplugged the soundboard, I doubt that it is responsible for much at all except an indistinct boomy-ness which is present on that model.

I'd say if Yamaha is now using a soundboard resonator on the N3X (they weren't to my knowledge on the N3), it's still marketing hype, although it might potentially move somewhat more air than the Kawai due to not having to put thick, visually-prominent ribs on the back of it (my assumption). On the other hand, I think that would still be of very limited value - the only thing it would likely add is a slightly more pronounced bottom end and a slightly less pinpoint location of the sound coming from the speaker drivers. I think it's still mostly marketing spin. If soundboards are so great and responsive, why so many speakers? Yamaha is probably just trying to keep up with Kawai's soundboard marketing mumbo jumbo.
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 06:26 PM

Originally Posted by ando
I think it's still mostly marketing spin. If soundboards are so great and responsive, why so many speakers?


I imagine this is easily answered with cost, complexity, and size considerations. You need a big piano for a soundboard and it doesn't even fit on the relatively massive likes of the AGs or NV10, let alone your average Aurius.

It also seems hard to get soundboard response correct, especially at the high end, which I understand is why pianos with "real" soundboard speakers for digital like the TransAcoustics still have tweeters for the high end (I think the Aures and newer TAs may be full-transducer setups?)

I honestly don't know if a soundboard without resonating string response is better than a well tuned speaker setup, but it definitely seems easier and cheaper to implement the latter.
Posted By: Patrick Cox

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 08:05 PM

Back to the original topic of this post... 😂

I went back to Faust and they do have an N2 right next to the N3X so I got to play them side by side. And the N3X is definitely more responsive and more even than the N2. And that N2 feels like mine at home. So it seems like they have made some improvements to the AG action, or the 3 series has a better action than the 2 series. So now I have something to think about.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 09:07 PM

Spin? You're being VERY kind.
Originally Posted by ando
I think it's still mostly marketing spin.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/16/19 11:50 PM

If I had the space, I probably would have gone with the N3X at the time, over the N2.

Yamaha C1X TA2 - that's probably 10K more than the N3X?
Posted By: Patrick Cox

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/17/19 03:16 PM

On my way out of town I stopped by Faust one last time and played the N1X, N2 & N3X all with headphones and without. My biggest takeaways...

1. Both X models have a more responsive and livelier, more even key action.
2. I do like the N2 and N3X key surface better than the N1X. But I would not say that would be a deciding factor for me.
3. For headphone playing, I did not really notice much of a difference between any of the models. The newer models might have been slightly better but that may just be the quality of the samples.
4. The newer samples are a welcome addition.

At this point, since I play mostly with headphones, I am leaning towards replacing my N2 with an N1X and keeping my YUS5 because the 1 and 2 series AG models fit my space better and I am a little worried about going all in on digital long term. More things to go wrong after the 5 year warranty expires.

I’ll report back.

Thanks!
Posted By: MrKaramba

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/17/19 06:13 PM

Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
If I had the space, I probably would have gone with the N3X at the time, over the N2.

Yamaha C1X TA2 - that's probably 10K more than the N3X?


In Poland even 12k. However, you pay like 10k only for digital part... which is where Yamaha has probably some horrendous margin, as I cant
Posted By: MrKaramba

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/17/19 06:13 PM

Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
If I had the space, I probably would have gone with the N3X at the time, over the N2.

Yamaha C1X TA2 - that's probably 10K more than the N3X?


In Poland even 12k. However, you pay like 10k only for digital part... which is where Yamaha has probably some horrendous margin, as I cant imagine how it can be so expensive.
Posted By: robinlb

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/18/19 06:07 AM

Originally Posted by MrKaramba
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
If I had the space, I probably would have gone with the N3X at the time, over the N2.

Yamaha C1X TA2 - that's probably 10K more than the N3X?


In Poland even 12k. However, you pay like 10k only for digital part... which is where Yamaha has probably some horrendous margin, as I cant imagine how it can be so expensive.


Yes, Yamaha is usually higher than Kawai in same grade. For me I would rather choose K500aures or NV10.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Yamaha AvantGrand N3X vs N2 - 08/18/19 06:19 AM

Originally Posted by robinlb
Originally Posted by MrKaramba
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
If I had the space, I probably would have gone with the N3X at the time, over the N2.

Yamaha C1X TA2 - that's probably 10K more than the N3X?


In Poland even 12k. However, you pay like 10k only for digital part... which is where Yamaha has probably some horrendous margin, as I cant imagine how it can be so expensive.


Yes, Yamaha is usually higher than Kawai in same grade. For me I would rather choose K500aures or NV10.

Although I bought an N1X, I probably would have chosen the NV10 instead if I were to use the piano mostly without headphones. However, since I use headphones 95% of the time, and the binaural mode with headphones is so much better in my personal view (and for me) than headphones on the NV10, there was no real comparison.

I was also annoyed by the high noise floor of the NV10. (The noise floor was audible in my headphones on the NV10 and not really audible on the N1X.)
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