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Posted By: MacMacMac Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 12:13 PM
Many of you know that my retirement has been looming. My wife has been itching to return "home" to the north suburbs of Pittsburgh.
So we visited her sister over the holiday weekend and went home shopping.

We expected to look mainly at new homes, which would have to be built over a period of months.
And then we'd move in somewhere around my planned retirement date in May next year.
If not new construction, we'd have to return another time ... because when you buy used, the seller wants to close the deal with a few months.

Well, we found an ideal existing home (much cheaper than new construction) and we bought it.
So retirement will come a few months early. We'll likely move in December.

That generates a long list of things to do ... including a piano shopping exercise.

A few people here have bought various pianos at Modern Piano in Wexford PA.
It's the only Yamaha dealer around, so I spent time there last Saturday.
I wanted to see the N1X, but the salesman there (Mark) had already sold his last pair of those, and one on order is already sold.

He did have an NU1X, which I gladly tried. It immediately brought to mind the feel of my old Kawai upright.

But I really want the grand action. So I had to "suffer" a trial of the N3X.
It was already sold and was awaiting delivery. But it was on the floor, ready for a try.

Yow! Me likes! Totally amazing.

The grand feel is there. Is it possible for fingers to smile?

That, of course, was expected. What I didn't expect was the effect of the binaural sound.

I've always been skeptical of binaural. The demos always seem to have someone walking on a hard floor in a somewhat echo-y room.
The footsteps walk behind you. They walk off to the side. Then in front of you, and so on.
Impressive? No! Until shoes-on-hardwood become a musical instrument fad I have to say "who cares?"

But if you do a good job of putting the binaural effect into a piano the result in quite striking.
No more piano-in-your-head feeling. It's a piano-in-front-of-you feeling. Very nice.

Not so nice was the price. List was around $23,000 IIRC.
The dealer said he sell one for $20,000. But that's still way too steep for me.
I'll have to wait for an N1X.

I still haven't ruled out the NV10. (By the time I get around to that it might be an NV11!)
The nearest dealer is 100 miles away near Cleveland. So maybe I'll make that a day trip after we move.
Posted By: Mickey_ Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 12:18 PM
Woo-hoo, so it's getting serious! Keep us posted, will you?
Posted By: Pete14 Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 12:24 PM
Yes, keep us in the loop, Mac.

I’m surprised that someone would pay $20,000 for the N3X. 12\13K would be the maximum I’d be willing to pay. Also, the N3X was released back in 2016, so it’s possible that a new model could show up soonish. It took Yamaha a very long time between the N3 and the N3X, but at that point there was no competition (now we have Novus), so perhaps there’s a chance within the next year or so?
Posted By: Beowulf Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 12:57 PM
$20,000 for the N3X is WAY too steep. We have them at $16,000 where I'm from.
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 01:57 PM
Guys, don't forget that Mac is not only the informal steward of the Prices Paid thread and distributor of the spreadsheet version, he's also one of the board's most ardent promotes of strong buyer negotiation. I'm sure he knows the going rate versus the dealer list price smile

What may affect things is COVID. Supply may simply not be there to support a buyer's market.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 02:04 PM
Supply definitely seems to be a problem. Others here have already noted that.
Posted By: Otavio Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 02:06 PM
Someone said that the new action on the clp 745 reminds the n1x.
Worth trying....haha 😂
Posted By: David B Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 02:22 PM
Wow, big changes in the near future. New house, new community, and new piano. This is exciting!

Welcome back. You were missed.

God Bless,
David
Posted By: newer player Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 03:14 PM
Used supply ebbs and flows. New school year seems to dry up supply but that may change in a few weeks. Used N3 models come to market from time to time but I have only seen a handful of N3x used.

Can't speak for supply of new hybrids.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 03:37 PM
@newer player: I see you've moved to Takako Mamiya. Or rather, you're looking for it.

Google maps couldn't find it, either. Then ... oops ... I discovered that Takako Mamiya is a singer. So we're still left wondering where you live these days.
Posted By: spanishbuddha Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I still haven't ruled out the NV10. (By the time I get around to that it might be an NV11!)
The nearest dealer is 100 miles away near Cleveland. So maybe I'll make that a day trip after we move.
Welcome back. Yes, unless there are some other features only on the AGs that are a must have, then you should use the NV10 as a comparison in your quest.
Posted By: johnstaf Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 04:33 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I discovered that Takako Mamiya is a singer. So we're still left wondering where you live these days.

Where Takako Mamiya lives is just as much of a mystery.
Posted By: EPW Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 04:43 PM
Wow great news on the earlier retirement MacMacMac.

Welcome back.

Now we expect a full report in the prices paid thread when you finally purchase your piano smile

I got to play the NV10 and it is very nice. Worth the few hours drive to Cleveland area to try it out.

We just found out my wife's cousin is leaving Pittsburgh area and relocating to Wisconsin.
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 05:11 PM
Welcome back. My N2 will be available soon on the west coast, although you probably don't want that laugh
Posted By: newer player Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 05:19 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I discovered that Takako Mamiya is a singer. So we're still left wondering where you live these days.
I heard she moved to Singapore for fiscal reasons.
Posted By: Marchelune Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 06:39 PM
Happy retirement 🎉 !
I am personally waiting for Kawai to make their NV20 move against the N3X 😇, but I do recommend checking out the NV10 if you can.
On my first try I did prefer the N1X because it felt more sturdy, but then I came back and after an hour I was completely in love with the NV10 action - and its sound which I like way more than the N1X. The kawai action feels more like a real grand piano than the N1X.

It sucks that shops around you are Yamaha or Kawai exclusive, I find it very useful to be able to quickly go from one to the other to compare.
Posted By: Boboulus Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 06:51 PM
Whats your thought about a Kawai K500 ATX3/Aures Mac? I was really set on a N1X a while ago but after trying a K300 Aures im really sold on beeing able to play acoustic when i can and digital when i have to. smile

I hear that the K500's action is not that far from a grand action but off course not the same thing. The sound is suppsoed to be very good and have the same sound angine as the NV10.

Would be nice to hear your thought even though i know you might be very set for a N1X/NV10.
Posted By: Mickey_ Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 07:03 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Guys, don't forget that Mac is not only the informal steward of the Prices Paid thread and distributor of the spreadsheet version, he's also one of the board's most ardent promotes of strong buyer negotiation. I'm sure he knows the going rate versus the dealer list price smile

What may affect things is COVID. Supply may simply not be there to support a buyer's market.

Supply definitely seems to be a problem. Others here have already noted that.

I'm sorry to say, MacMacMac... I expect nothing but first prize (i.e. the very best deal) from you – whatever you're going for in the end, whenever you're closing the deal. No excuses accepted. :-)
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 07:06 PM
I've tried the NV10 twice before. And ... yes, it's VERY nice. After playing an upright for 12 years, followed by this Clav for 12 years, the Novus was a dream.
Originally Posted by EPW
I got to play the NV10 and it is very nice. Worth the few hours drive to Cleveland area to try it out.
But it's been a year since the last time. I want to try both the NV10 and the N1X at nearly the same time. So that'll be my mission early next year.

Originally Posted by Marchelune
On my first try I did prefer the N1X because it felt more sturdy, but then I came back and after an hour I was completely in love with the NV10 action - and its sound which I like way more than the N1X. The kawai action feels more like a real grand piano than the N1X.
That's something I want to discover as soon as I get the chance.

Originally Posted by Marchelune
It sucks that shops around you are Yamaha or Kawai exclusive, I find it very useful to be able to quickly go from one to the other to compare.
The Kawai shop here in Raleigh (Maus Piano) carries a variety of acoustics, but only Kawai grands. There's a Yamaha shop here (Ruggero Piano) ... with an N1X to show ... but procrastination early in the year, followed by virus jail later on, has kept me away all year.

If not for the current health situation it would be easy enough to shuttle between the two shops in a single afternoon. They're only 8 miles apart.

But in western Pennsylvania ... I scoured the interwebs for both Kawai and Yamaha shops within many miles of Pittsburgh.
Their only Yamaha shop suits me just fine. Modern Piano is very nearby in Wexford.

But of the two Kawai shops, one is around sixty miles away to the southeast, and it's a small shop.
The other is 100 miles west. But it's a big shop. In a nice neighborhood. So it's a more attractive place to pay a visit.
Wifey would be more likely to tag along on that trip ... assuming there's the prospect of fine dining in the area. smile
Posted By: vagfilm Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 07:23 PM
Welcome back mac. PW is not the same without you. Pianoteq sales went up for the last few days... 😀
Posted By: TheodorN Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 07:39 PM
Originally Posted by vagfilm
Welcome back mac. PW is not the same without you. Pianoteq sales went up for the last few days... 😀
LOL, good one. grin
Posted By: EPW Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 07:55 PM
Originally Posted by vagfilm
Welcome back mac. PW is not the same without you. Pianoteq sales went up for the last few days... 😀

Hey don't pick on my beloved PianoTeq. Wait, isn't the saying you pick on the ones you love. So in that case MacMacMac must really LOVE PianoTeq smile
Posted By: Gombessa Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 08:04 PM
Welcome back, Mac! It feels like it's been forever.

Huge congrats on the new house, that's momentous! It must make your pending retirement suddenly feel all the more real, doesn't it?

I'm sure all of the N1X owners can jump in and tell you, but if you like the N3X, the N1X should be almost the same (save the ivorite key finish and damper pedal feel); you get the same action, the same keystick length, the same binaural audio, and less than half the cost. Hopefully you can find one in person to try out.

You know I'm going to +1 playing back to back against the Novus. I did the same and came out on the other side of the tunnel, but I'm glad I had the chance to try all the options.

Also, are you dead set on a digital piano? You're retiring, you don't have young kids with nap times, you (hopefully) won't have neighbors sharing walls. What about nice acoustic grand to really ring in that well-deserved retirement? smile
Posted By: Marchelune Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 09:38 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
But of the two Kawai shops, one is around sixty miles away to the southeast, and it's a small shop.
The other is 100 miles west. But it's a big shop. In a nice neighborhood. So it's a more attractive place to pay a visit.
Wifey would be more likely to tag along on that trip ... assuming there's the prospect of fine dining in the area. smile

Happy shopping then! Do keep us posted smile!

Originally Posted by Gombessa
Also, are you dead set on a digital piano? You're retiring, you don't have young kids with nap times, you (hopefully) won't have neighbors sharing walls. What about nice acoustic grand to really ring in that well-deserved retirement?

Interested in the answer here too! Although I think hybrids are very nice instruments, if I can afford to live in a house I'd try to go the acoustic grand way 🤔.
Posted By: kimby Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 09:56 PM
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Also, are you dead set on a digital piano? You're retiring, you don't have young kids with nap times, you (hopefully) won't have neighbors sharing walls. What about nice acoustic grand to really ring in that well-deserved retirement?

Maybe he needs the best of all worlds: a CyberGene Special! smile Hooked up to Pianoteq, of course.
Posted By: Martinez Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/10/20 11:49 PM
Welcome back, Mac. PW is not the same without you!
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 12:26 AM
Nice remark!:)
Originally Posted by vagfilm
Welcome back mac. PW is not the same without you. Pianoteq sales went up for the last few days... 😀
I needed a laugh. That's now been taken care of.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 12:32 AM
To those of you suggesting an acoustic piano ... yes, that's a good thought. It did not occur to me at all.
But after hearing that N3X I begin to wonder whether that's close enough!
If the N1X is mostly the same (via headphones) I won't need VSTs anymore. That CFX binaural was stupendous.

But the cost of a proper acoustic? The budget is already having fits.
I'll be writing a check for just under six-figures for the house down payment plus costs.
Plus around $15,000 for the movers.
And another $10,000 for some renovations. Maybe $15,000.

So I'll be groaning when it comes to spending yet another $7000-ish on an N1X, or perhaps more for the NV10.
My bank accounts are already crying in anticipation.
Posted By: hlm3 Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 12:36 AM
Mac, all this talk of Wexford, Raleigh, and even Wisconsin have me chuckling. I am originally from the Pittsburgh area (not too far from Wexford), but now live in Wisconsin. To top it all off, my mother currently lives near Raleigh (Chapel Hill), but is moving back to suburban Pittsburgh, and I'm driving her (she is blind) all the way next week! LOL!

Such a small world. Good luck with the piano search! I got my N1X from Pianoforte in Chicago early this year. I love it every single day. I had also tried the N3X, and I agree with the others that I got 95% of the N3X for just 50% of the cost. Great deal on a very fine instrument.
Posted By: newer player Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 12:58 AM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I won't need VSTs anymore. That CFX binaural was stupendous.
That is a significant savings in cost and time.

But even CyberGene moved back to the dark side.

It will be interesting to see if you have different view of your VIs when connected to the N1x.
Posted By: djvu10 Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 01:58 AM
Welcome back Mac.

See how much you can get done when you don't spend all your time in the forum???

May will be here before you know it!
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 02:04 AM
@djvu: Thanks. But the plan is changing. It won't be May. More like December or January. smile
Posted By: djvu10 Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 02:27 AM
Do you mean in 3-4 months or a year after that?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 02:44 AM
This year.
Posted By: navindra Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 03:38 AM
Congrats on the new home! Big move!

That's a sleazy dealership trying to sell the N3X for $20k -- even with PianoBuyer's famously inflated estimates, it comes in at $18.8k. They are making the most of the supply issues. Might be worth taking the risk and shipping one across state lines.

Take a look at the GB1K and GL10 at least.

Hopefully, the N1X comes in at a good price. Here's some relevant advice quoted from Pete14, you might want to keep in a back pocket:

Originally Posted by Pete14
I’d recommend ‘blending’ Pianoteq (Steingraeber) with the N1X’s on-board CFX. It works very well for me (I also enjoy CFX solo).

I go into Pianoteq Pro and work on matching volume levels and note tuning to the CFX on a note per note basis; I do this only for the notes that sound badly out of tune (some notes match well automatically). I skip the upper-most/lower notes altogether because these notes are never played (lowest A and neighboring notes, for example). I just concentrate on the ‘usable’ registers. Also, I still like to leave some level of de-tuning because I find it makes the sound more organic (less perfect/clean).

I believe that the N1X might allow for note-per-note tuning (I’m not 100% sure), but I’m certain that it allows note-per-note volume. If note-per-note tuning is possible on the CFX (via the app) then perhaps you can perform the edits there and not on Pianoteq. As you may already know, you will need Pianoteq Pro for note-per-note edits.

I only work on volume/tuning (note per note) and maybe a little e.q. (globally). At some point I might try to fiddle with the mics on Pianoteq (positioning, etc.).
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 09:30 AM
Yes, I know that $20,000 is way high for the N3X. But note that the dealer's $20k price was just idle conversation. It could have been meant to establish a norm ... so that later (if I expressed interest to buy) he'd return with a lower asking price ... and the deal would seem sweet. Just a seller's ploy. (He doesn't know who he's dealing with.) smile
Posted By: schismal Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/11/20 01:00 PM
I picked up an NV-5 from that dealer outside Cleveland, and I had a good experience with that shop. They were making individual appointments due to COVID, which meant that I had the entire floor to myself for about 2 hours. And they have at least one Shigeru Grand on display, in case you want to test the NV-10 action against the real thing. wink

And yes, there's good food and shopping in the area.
Posted By: dng Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/13/20 03:05 PM
Lol macmacmac, welcome back. You are definitely the market expert, I believe the Costco N3x price is 15k, do you think it can be done even lower?
Posted By: Volusiano Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/13/20 05:43 PM
Originally Posted by dng
Lol macmacmac, welcome back. You are definitely the market expert, I believe the Costco N3x price is 15k, do you think it can be done even lower?
In the Prices Paid thread, someone was able to get it for $13K with shipping included from a dealer in San Antonio, TX to Missouri. That was a year ago.
Posted By: AlphaTerminus Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/13/20 06:41 PM
Yes if your local dealer won’t budge call around. You should easily get one with shipping < $15,000
Posted By: Pete14 Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/13/20 06:50 PM
..but why be happy with an N3X when you can be even happier with the forthcoming N4WGBH?
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/13/20 07:41 PM
I hope I've not given the impression that I'm shopping for an N3X. I'm not.

I simply tried an N3X because the shop had no N1X to show. Those were all sold out. And their future orders were also already sold.

The N1X costs less than half. So the N3X ... nice though it is ... is not on the menu. Not my menu, anyway.
Posted By: Harpuia Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/14/20 02:11 AM
I've seen multiple reports on this forum saying that here is a supply shortage for N1X now. Do a lot of people order sight unseen so that the store does not have floor unit any more?
Posted By: vara411 Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/22/20 06:25 PM
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I hope I've not given the impression that I'm shopping for an N3X. I'm not.

I simply tried an N3X because the shop had no N1X to show. Those were all sold out. And their future orders were also already sold.

The N1X costs less than half. So the N3X ... nice though it is ... is not on the menu. Not my menu, anyway.


MacMacMac, having read your many posts for a while now I know you to be a highly discerning individual. If you can afford a fair price for the N3X and have the space for it, I'd recommend you pick one up. Get something you'd be supremely happy with. If you plan on using mostly headphones then this becomes less of an issue. Have I mentioned the N3X is gorgeous?? 3hearts It's the crown jewel of our living room.

Best of luck! We're all rooting for ya. I'll be following this thread closely. Any questions on the N3X, feel free to ask.

P.S. As I'm sure you're aware with the "prices paid" list, $20K is a rip-off. I got my N3X out-the-door for $13,999 + tax and negotiated free delivery.
Posted By: MacMacMac Re: Shopping for an Avant Grand - 09/22/20 06:38 PM
The N3X is indeed a gem. It was the best digital I've ever lain hands on.
That's no slight on the NV10 that I tried last year. It suffered from the sh** headphones I was using, so it won't be able to redeem itself until I have another go ... with proper headphones.

But I have to drop around $100k on a house later this year, and a bunch more for the movers, and bunch more to renovate (wifey wants the shower converted to a soaker tub).

So the N3X is not in the cards.

Unless you know some hot lottery numbers. smile
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