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Joined: Oct 2021
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Hello, I'm trying to make a decision on a digital piano. I looked at a Yamaha NU1X a few weeks ago and a Roland LX705 yesterday. The NU1X sounded insanely good through the headphones. The Roland has something they called "my stage", which was pretty good through headphones but I didn't feel blown away like I did when I heard the NU1X. Not playing them right after one another I'm not sure if my ranking of the headphone sound is accurate. Is Yamaha or Roland technology known for being superior in this area?

Reading through posts on this forum and also doing other online research I've started wondering if I should consider a Yamaha Clavinova 745 (someone somewhere mentioned it's the same sound and feel as the NU1X without the bells and whistles--that I wouldn't use). Also looking at reviews for the N1X too and I feel like the more I research and go down rabbit holes, the further I get from making a decision! And I really am anxious to pull the trigger soon. A quick sound byte about me and then a ranked list of what's important to me:

An adult picking up the piano. I had 6 years of lessons ending at age 12. I've usually had a piano in the house but kids and work have taken priority over the last 30 years. I just sold a 1999 Yamaha Disklavier Grand because we moved into a home where I couldn't reasonably fit it. I've always played acoustic pianos but really want the ability to stumble and learn without anyone else having to hear me smile I'd love a new Yamaha YUS1 SH2 silent piano but I'm not even close enough to warrant the price tag. My ultimate dream piano is the newest Disklavier that also have silent option. Upright version of course due to space constraints

1. The closest sound to an acoustic as possible when listening through headphones
2. A close second--closest sound to an acoustic without headphones
3. Visually appealing as it will be in my formal living room--so a cabinet similar to a true acoustic piano
4. User friendly, I'm not super tech-y and I doubt I'll do any composing/recording, but I might consider leveraging any educational tools that are built in. I did think the orchestra accompaniment on the Roland that I heard sounded beautiful, but for the most part I will just use this as a substitute for an acoustic piano
5. Warranty - The Roland would have a 10 year parts/service in my home. That seemed really good next to the Yamaha, which I couldn't quite tell, maybe it varies. I saw one online site advertised an 8 year warranty on the Avantgrands?


I was looking around $3-4K USD with the thought of also getting an acoustic after I improve. But I could also talk myself up tothe $9-10K range. But in order to spend that much I'd have to rationalize that this is it-- and I'm not going to get an acoustic down the road. I'm also interested if there is some other model I should consider that I haven't mentioned. Thanks so much in advance!

Sarah

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I'm happy with my Yamaha P515 - I use it mainly for classical music. I too want it to be as close to an acoustic as possible. I have not been able to test drive other digital pianos since I live in a small community away from larger cities and with the pandemic no one has any stock anyway. But after 3 months of waiting, my P515 arrived last February. Although the binaural sound through the headphones is nice, I ended up turning that feature off - mainly because they use an entirely different set of samples for the binaural effect and when I'm learning a piece, or polishing one, I want the sound from the headphones to match the sound from the speakers so I don't have to constantly re-adjust. I've heard/read that the insides of the 515 are basically the same as the CLP 645 without the cabinet and without the higher price. If I were to spend over $3,000 on a piano, I'd probably look for an upright acoustic. I think I paid around $2,000 all in, DP, stand, 3-pedal attachment, additional speakers, headphones, nicer bench (for a real grand) and cover.

I play mostly classical music. When I do have the opportunity to play a real acoustic, it doesn't take too much adjustment after playing this piano. I love it

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Sarah, I was in a similar situation as yours a few years ago. I had owned a Yamaha DGX-660 with its entry-level action for a couple of years, upon returning to the piano after several decades away, and was looking for an upgrade.

I recommend that you buy a mid-priced digital now, and upgrade to either an acoustic grand or a hybrid if and when you feel the need to do so.

As "danno858" says, one option is to stay in the $1.5-2 range, with the Kawai ES920, Roland FP90X and Yamaha P-515. These pianos are a great value, and with their optional wooden stands and pedal systems look nice as well. Some of them have identical key actions as higher-priced traditional-cabinet pianos from the same company.

In your $3-4K range, I highly recommend that you try the Kawai CA79, particularly if you're fine playing with headphones. I don't like headphones and so greatly preferred the CA99 with its soundboard, but that is more expensive. And I could not find any digital or hybrid piano that -- without headphones -- matched the complexity of sound from an acoustic grand.

One correction from what you've been told: The Yamaha NU1X hybrid has a completely different (real acoustic upright) action from the CLP-745 digital (simulated grand). Only hybrids from Kawai and Yamaha have true acoustic actions; the lower-priced ones are upright actions and the higher-priced ones grand actions.

In the end, I kept my Yamaha digital and bought a Kawai acoustic grand to go with it, and have been very happy with this combination for the last two years. I play the grand 95% of the time but enjoy the digital for its range of instruments and accompaniment options.

All the best,
Lotus
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Last piece learned: Mozart / Adagio in B minor, K 540
Pianos: Kawai GM-10 grand, Yamaha DGX-660 digital

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> if I should consider a Yamaha Clavinova 745 (someone somewhere mentioned it's the same sound and feel as the NU1X without the bells and whistles--that I wouldn't use).

Not exactly. Yamaha upper P/CLP actions are quite different from the avantgrands and acoustic actions. I think among DP actions, Roland LX, Kawai CA and Casio GP are closer. But you must try them yourself.

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Originally Posted by Cunin04
The NU1X sounded insanely good through the headphones.

You've got your answer.

The NU1X is almost always praised for its speaker sound too. It has a real Yamaha upright action it in. And it looks good. Don't torture yourself, you've already found a good solution.

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Sarah, after re-reading your original post, I may have to agree with EssBrace, above. Since you test-played a Yamaha NU1X, you should be able to decide whether its sound through speakers, without headphones, is fine for you.

My situation was different from yours, as I compared its sound through speakers to that of an acoustic grand. This is irrelevant for you, since a grand will not fit in your new home.

The NU1X will give you the silent practice option you need, with a real upright action. Though more expensive than your original budget, it's still well short of your stretch budget.

What's more, it looks good and should fit well in your formal living room. All the best, Lotus

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Hello,

Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by Cunin04
The NU1X sounded insanely good through the headphones.

You've got your answer.

The NU1X is almost always praised for its speaker sound too. It has a real Yamaha upright action it in. And it looks good. Don't torture yourself, you've already found a good solution.

Sarah, these were exactly my thoughts when reading your post. If you insanely like it, what is more... to like? 🙂 So you might as well be done deciding already.

An alternative might be the Kawai Novus NV5S. If you like and can, at least try that one as well.

On a stretched budget, options are:
-> Yamaha N1X
-> Kawai Novus NV10S
-> A good (used) upright with a proper silent system

That last option would be fiddlier and more work to find and decide on.

Given the history, commitment, and atmosphere in your post, I'd forget about anything other than a hybrid digital (the ones listed here) or an acoustic silent.

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ

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Originally Posted by Cunin04
1. The closest sound to an acoustic as possible when listening through headphones
"Closest" is a difficult question to answer, even apart from subjectivity, just because there are different ways something can be closer than something else, and there are also different reference points (closer to piano x vs closer to piano y). But in general, since real pianos can't be listened to through headphones, at least in one aspect, the kind of DP that should come closest to sounding like an acoustic when listening through headohones is one that has a binaural implementation, since that is the technology that allows you to listen to something through headphones and hear it more like it would naturally sound in the room.

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Cunin04 Offline OP
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Thank you all for the great guidance! I did love that nu1x. I wasn’t sure if I should be considering others even though I may not be able to try them near me. It seemed hard to believe the first one was the right one and I didn’t want to be too impulsive. (I also wasn’t sure if anything comparable could be found for less $$ but it sounds like stepping down in money means either lower headphone listening experience or less authentic feel). I think I was secretly hoping that The nu1x reflected a higher price tag due to the Yamaha brand name and really something just as good existed at a lower price point from someone else.

As for warranty, how long should one expect an nu1x to last and should I be concerned that the warranty was much shorter than Roland?

I wish I was in love with the Yamaha dealer that is close to my home, I bought my last piano from them and it pains me to give them my business. I could buy online but if I have any issues I assumed it would be easier to deal with the folks up the road.

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Originally Posted by Cunin04
As for warranty, how long should one expect an nu1x to last and should I be concerned that the warranty was much shorter than Roland?
I'm now on my ninth year owing the predecessor NU1. No problems at all. Hardly any GAS to upgrade, except maybe an acoustic and I'm curious about the NV5S. I extended the warranty to 5 years online, (this was a thing with AG's and may still be, you should ask), and had it serviced by Yamaha just before that extended warranty ran out.

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Cunin04 Offline OP
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Thank you! I’m sorry I don’t know what GAS means?

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If you can buy NU1X at the price which is close to LX-705, I would not even think twice. LX-705 has a worse keys, less advanced stereo system, the only “advantage” it has full sound modelling, while Yamaha has only resonance modelling. In theory this can have marginal effect on playability, on practice given digital vs real keyboard I am not sure… Yamaha probably has a better sound.


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Originally Posted by Cunin04
Thank you! I’m sorry I don’t know what GAS means?

Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It is a desease that has a strong impact over the pocket (and marriages too, at times). smile


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.

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