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Can anyone tell me how the Avant Grands compare to an older model, the CLP 990? The CLP 990 keyboard feels very much like an acoustic, but doesn't have the nuances in sound that the acoustic has (I also play on a Boston grand). The CLP 990 sounds great with headphones but tinny otherwise. Can anyone make a comparison for me? Is the Avant Grand a lot better than the old clp 990? I'm wondering if upgrading to the Avant Grand is worth it... I know I'll have to find it and try it out for myself but just wondered if anyone already has, thanks!

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The CLP990 technology is now nearly 10 years old. Time marches on in computers and digital pianos. The touch response on a mear CLP340 is likely better than the CLP990. The AvantGrand is in a complete other catagory. The action in the N3 is an actual acoustic Yamaha grand piano action. You really must play the AvantGrand and draw your own impressions and conclusions.


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Thanks Marty. Looks like my model is very old. I sure like it with headphones. The keys are made of wood and I really like the feel of the keyboard. But if even the 340 is much better, the Avant Grand should be much better than my 990.

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Originally Posted by nan
The CLP 990 keyboard feels very much like an acoustic, but doesn't have the nuances in sound that the acoustic has (I also play on a Boston grand).

If you like the feel of the keyboard then you're 1/2 way there. Have you considered a laptop or PC running a modeler or sampler? That would give you the best of both worlds.

Originally Posted by nan
I'm wondering if upgrading to the Avant Grand is worth it... I know I'll have to find it and try it out for myself but just wondered if anyone already has, thanks!

Technically, and IMO, the AvantGrand sound samples could use some enlarging - particularly the loop lengths. You might want to hold off for a year or two if you can, as some really new things seem to be happening in the sample departments of most manufacturers.

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The CLP 990 is unique, because it features 192-note polyphony and has an 88 key sample with 5 velocity layers.
This is something Yamaha on later Clavinovas have replaced with sound banks and stretching.

Technically this model is superior to the Clavinovas available today!

Only Avant Grand can compete with the specs of this DP.

Link to specs:
Clavinova CLP 990

I think this piano is a worthy contender for the DP BSD test!

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Richard Stark

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Naturally, this requires a lot of memory: how about a whopping 80.4 megabytes just for the Grand Piano sound?


Nooo, thats too small. Divide it to 88/5/2 = 95801 bytes per note. Maybe its not even 16 bit.

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Originally Posted by bkmz
Nooo, thats too small. Divide it to 88/5/2 = 95801 bytes per note. Maybe its not even 16 bit.

I agree:

( 80.4MB ) / ( 88 notes ) / ( 5 layers / note ) / ( 2 ch stereo ) / ( 2 bytes / sample ) / ( 44100 samples / sec ) = 1.04 seconds per sample average

To sound good (if something looped can indeed be considered good sounding) I think 3 to 4 seconds are necessary. I never thought I'd be saying this, but it's too bad they didn't stretch the sample set to increase the average sample time.

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88 Stereo Sampling
In the same way that an acoustic piano has separate strings for each key, the CLP-990 has separate stereo samples for all 88 keys — each one painstakingly recorded from a top-class, perfectly maintained Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand. There's no tricky filtering or pitch shifting to make a single sample sound like several notes: each individual note is a separate and distinctly vibrant entity. What's more, each note is sampled at five separate dynamic levels so that the timbre is right from the meekest pianissimo to the most commanding fortissimo. Naturally, this requires a lot of memory: how about a whopping 80.4 megabytes just for the Grand Piano sound?

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Natural Keyboard
In addition to unrivalled sound, the CLP-990 delivers unbelievably realistic touch with the "Natural Keyboard" featuring spruce keys. As with the highly acclaimed GH (Graded Hammer effect) keyboard of all other Yamaha Clavinovas, key weight is graded from heavier in the lower registers to lighter in the higher, exactly like a grand piano. However, in the "Natural Keyboard", this grading is in 8 steps as opposed to 4 in the GH keyboard. For even more realism, this new keyboard also uses a new hammer action that lets you actually feel the hammers and cushions as you play. What's more, there are two sensors — one under each hammer and one under each key. The hammer sensor detects velocity, while the key sensor detects when the damper is on or off.

OMG! If Yamaha accidentally revealed this level of technical detail about one of their more contemporary DPs they'd probably send someone out to kill you.

These days they never tell you memory size per voice, and I don't recall ever reading the number of keyboard grading steps anywhere.

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Are there any CLP-990 owners out there willing to submit a DPBSD test to dewster?

Cheers,
James
x


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Originally Posted by KAWAI James
Are there any CLP-990 owners out there willing to submit a DPBSD test to dewster?

nan? Could I persuade you to digitally record the DPBSD MIDI file and submit it for analysis?

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I'm amazed. The CLP-990 looks like a Tour de Force for Yamaha bearing in mind its age. Everything that followed it must've had an inferior spec...this might even still be the case. On paper at least the 990 seems better than the CLP-380. Why did they slam it into reverse after the 990? Can't understand it.

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Originally Posted by EssBrace
I'm amazed. The CLP-990 looks like a Tour de Force for Yamaha bearing in mind its age. Everything that followed it must've had an inferior spec...this might even still be the case. On paper at least the 990 seems better than the CLP-380. Why did they slam it into reverse after the 990? Can't understand it.
I doubt we'll ever know for sure. But I think it's all about marketing. The 990 may have been "too good". Assuming that the subsequent Clavs cost less to build ... Then if people were satisfied with the "lesser" Clavs, and were unaware of what they were missing, then Yamaha stood to profit by selling lower cost units.

Remember ... your best product doesn't have to be the best one possible. It just has to be as good as or better than the competition. And it must satisfy your customers. Apparently, Yamaha's post-990 Clavs met both of those criteria.

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EssBrace, MacMacMac, have you read the comments? The amount of memory for samples on CLP990 is too small to sound good.

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Originally Posted by bkmz
EssBrace, MacMacMac, have you read the comments? The amount of memory for samples on CLP990 is too small to sound good.
That's conjecture. But people here and elsewhere have raved about the 990. Apparently, it sounds good despite the claims of "not enough memory". Others here have said, many times ... judge the results, not the specs.

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Yeah I know you're right. But it's so cynical of them. And I'm not picking just Yamaha out here. In some ways some of the older keyboards were better. My RD-1000 is still in perfect working order after 23 years, with full wooden action with really long pivoted keys (sound familiar Kawai?). Yamaha KX-88 with full wooden action was one of the all-time great controllers. To dumb down your product just because the market will let you get away with it lacks integrity. I know things have started to progress now with the Yamaha SCM and Roland SN stuff but in some ways it's like they are only making ground up that they lost over the last decade or so.

Steve

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Originally Posted by dewster
Originally Posted by bkmz
Nooo, thats too small. Divide it to 88/5/2 = 95801 bytes per note. Maybe its not even 16 bit.

I agree:

( 80.4MB ) / ( 88 notes ) / ( 5 layers / note ) / ( 2 ch stereo ) / ( 2 bytes / sample ) / ( 44100 samples / sec ) = 1.04 seconds per sample average

To sound good (if something looped can indeed be considered good sounding) I think 3 to 4 seconds are necessary. I never thought I'd be saying this, but it's too bad they didn't stretch the sample set to increase the average sample time.
Suppose the data are compressed? Ordinary WAV files can be compressed 5x or 6x to produce MP3 format. If this (or other) compression were used, then your computation would need to consider that.

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EssBrase, your words: "Everything that followed CLP990 must've had an inferior spec...".

I'm just saying its not.

judge the results, not the specs.

True, but the results is highly dependent on specs.

On the other hand I must admit that the sound on this videos is beautiful and deep.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmng4l2ymc8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAtrtBwxMPI


(edit: Oh I'm sorry, my mistake: "Played on Yamaha CLP 990 using The Grand 3 by Steinberg." That explains.

real CLP990 sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM-Ksk6-qBQ
nice, but nothing so special.)

Anyway, it's a question - which is more important:

1) more dynamic levels
2) less stretches
3) longer samples

CLP990 seem to have short samples (maybe its not THAT short actually - because fff notes can be longer than ppp), lot of levels, no stretching.

For me personally, lack of dynamic levels is a real pain. It makes piano sound like a toy.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Suppose the data are compressed? Ordinary WAV files can be compressed 5x or 6x to produce MP3 format. If this (or other) compression were used, then your computation would need to consider that.

True, they could be using a simple compression of some sort such as delta encoding, or maybe 12 bit samples. MP3 I seriously doubt. But the only way to know for sure is with a DPBSD test.

I wouldn't doubt at all that they made better keyboard assemblies in the past, but I'd be kind of shocked to run across a better sample set than what they are doing now - not that what we have is super great, but ROM is a lot cheaper, they were truly constrained by ROM costs in the past. Not sure why they aren't putting a lot more ROM in modern DPs, but they certainly could without breaking the bank.

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Originally Posted by bkmz
Anyway, it's a question - which is more important:

1) more dynamic levels
2) more samples per key (less stretches)
3) longer samples

In this case, and without looking at it, listening to it, or analyzing it beyond the back-of-the-envelope thing, I'd trade stretching for longer samples.

Originally Posted by bkmz
CLP990 seem to have short samples (maybe its not THAT short actually - because fff notes can be longer than ppp), lot of levels, no stretching.

Very likely too short. From what I've seen so far, it takes somewhere around a 3 second attack sample plus 3 second loop in the bass, and 2 second sample with 1 second loop in the high end. Average of 4.5 seconds total.

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Originally Posted by bkmz
real CLP990 sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM-Ksk6-qBQ
nice, but nothing so special.)

The midrange decay sounds unnaturally short to me in that video.

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