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Certainly, these are far from ideal circumstances for purchasing a piano of any kind which is why I truly appreciate all of you taking the time to provide your insight.

Really the requirements are pretty simple.

1. The piano needs to be digital for reasons mentioned above.
2. The piano needs a great action - and by great I mean as close to a real acoustic grand or acoustic upright as possible
3. It needs to be inspiring to play. i.e. sound good.

I think the NV5 and NU1X satisfy the first 2 requirements. I think by playing the K-300 Aures I might get a sense of what the NV5 action might feel like. I do not have that luxury with the NU1X. I have confirmed there are no Yamaha dealers on the islands.

As for requirement 3 - well that's where Youtube videos and forums like this come in to play.

Finally, I bought my Kawai VPC1, which I use to trigger my numerous VSTs, sight-unseen, purely based on testimonials that it was the midi controller with the best action. I have not been at all disappointed.

Thank you all again for your input.

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Originally Posted by Pi'ilani
Certainly, these are far from ideal circumstances for purchasing a piano of any kind which is why I truly appreciate all of you taking the time to provide your insight.

Really the requirements are pretty simple.

1. The piano needs to be digital for reasons mentioned above.
2. The piano needs a great action - and by great I mean as close to a real acoustic grand or acoustic upright as possible
3. It needs to be inspiring to play. i.e. sound good.

I think the NV5 and NU1X satisfy the first 2 requirements. I think by playing the K-300 Aures I might get a sense of what the NV5 action might feel like. I do not have that luxury with the NU1X. I have confirmed there are no Yamaha dealers on the islands.

As for requirement 3 - well that's where Youtube videos and forums like this come in to play.

Finally, I bought my Kawai VPC1, which I use to trigger my numerous VSTs, sight-unseen, purely based on testimonials that it was the midi controller with the best action. I have not been at all disappointed.

Thank you all again for your input.

There are a lot of great reports about the NV5, both the quality of the action, AND its sound output (I'm honestly a bit confused about this one, as I'm not sure exactly how it's different from a CA-98 or 99? Maybe being built in the piano factory matters? Maybe the materials? Maybe the action influences the perception of the sound)?

On the Kawais, the NV series holds no real advantages over the same-year CA-7x or CA-9x when using headphones (which seems to be a major criteria for you). Kawai uses the same sound engine. On the Yamaha end, they do all kinds of little tweaks (binaural on some models/pianos, more velocity layers on some, multi-channel sampling on the grand hybrids) across all the models and trim levels.

Oh, and half of the DPs I've owned were purchased sight-unseen over ebay. I'm fortunate enough to be able to take a risk on total loss, but have always had a good result (also fortunate) smile


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This may be of interest:



According to this guy the differentiating factor is in the cabinet and speaker setup.

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Originally Posted by Pi'ilani
I am no stranger to the virtues of acoustic pianos. I grew up with a Steinway B and owned and sold a Steinway K-52. There is nothing like playing an actual acoustic.

There is also nothing like a neighbor knocking on your door to keep it down.

That's why I play acoustic guitar and electric guitar as well. The acoustic guitar is much more quiet than my P-515 and the electric guitar is connected to two 8" @ 50 watts to make sure I don't hear any knocking. grin

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I live in an apartment building so playing the K-300 Aures in acoustic mode would never happen - so why spend another $7,000 more than the NV5 even if I did like it better?

An 48" piano is probably overkill and I would go with a 45" or 43" instead. Would probably choose the MIDIfied Yamaha variety and link it to my P-515.


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Actually, I am a little concerned about how loud the NV5 could be. According to Stu, the guy in the video, if you turn down the volume of the NVR too low i.e. below 50% the perception is that the action is very heavy - obviously just a perception thing - not any heavier in reality.

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Originally Posted by Pi'ilani
This may be of interest:



According to this guy the differentiating factor is in the cabinet and speaker setup.

And who is “this guy”?

We don’t take kindly to “some guy” ‘round here; unless you can show us his credentials.

Is he a professional reviewer or just “this guy” you bumped into?

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Stu Harrison from Merriam Pianos. He has several reviews of pianos on Youtube which I find quite informative.

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Originally Posted by Pi'ilani
Actually, I am a little concerned about how loud the NV5 could be. According to Stu, the guy in the video, if you turn down the volume of the NVR too low i.e. below 50% the perception is that the action is very heavy - obviously just a perception thing - not any heavier in reality.

At some point the action noise will drown everything else.


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Update:

The local piano store received a Kawai K300 Aures and, as it is the closest action to that which I might find in the NV5(S), I headed down today to test drive it.

Currently my reference point for a keyboard action is the RM3 Grand II action in my VPC1 which, as the name suggests, attempts to replicate the action of a grand piano. I am very satisfied with this action.

While my initial impression of the action of the K300 was positive, the more I played it (using either the acoustic, digital or combined options in the K300) the more it became clear that it felt very much like an upright action. (Yes - I know it's an upright). There seemed to be glitches or chinks in the action as I slowly depressed and released the keys. It was OK if I played normally but I didn't find the action to be particularly smooth.

The salesman then pointed out a Kawai acoustic grand behind me and suggested I give it try. According to the salesperson it has the Millennium III action that would closely approximate that found in the Novus NV10. The action immediately felt better to me. Initially I thought I might be confused by the beautiful acoustic tone emanating from the piano but the more I played, the better I liked the action. According to the salesperson, the Millennium III is a successor to the RM3 Grand II action. Whether that is true or not, the experience swayed me in the direction of a grand over an upright action in a hybrid piano.

To gain additional perspective as long as I was there, I tried a couple of Roland keyboards with the PHA-50 action and another with the PHA-4. I preferred the PHA-50 action over the PHA-4. It was very smooth but did not really resemble either of the Kawaii actions.

Conclusion. I was surprised how much more I preferred the grand over the upright action. I have a renewed appreciation for my VPC1 controller's action and my numerous VSTs. Now I need to decide if the convenience of having a high-end hybrid piano, such as an NV10 which I can just turn on and play, is worth it. Finally, even if I could test drive a Yamaha N1X, N2 or N3X and preferred one of them over the NV10, I would feel uncomfortable purchasing one as there is no Yamaha authorized dealership here for support in the event something goes awry.

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You try. You learn.
You try more. You learn more.

I think you're on the right path.

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Originally Posted by Pi'ilani
According to the salesperson, the Millennium III is a successor to the RM3 Grand II action.

The "Millennium III" is a acoustic grand piano action. It's predecessor was the "Ultra Responsive" grand piano action.
The "RM3 Grand II" is a simple folded digital piano action. It's successor is the "Grand Feel" action.

This tells you how useless salespeople are. They tell you anything to sell you anything.

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There seemed to be glitches or chinks in the action as I slowly depressed and released the keys. It was OK if I played normally but I didn't find the action to be particularly smooth.

This is a regulation issue. Doesn't speak for the dealer to have new instruments in that condition in the showroom.


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Originally Posted by JoeT
The "RM3 Grand II" is a simple folded digital piano action.

RM3 Grand is not a 'folded' design. It has longish wooden keysticks and instead of a hammer assembly folded underneath or above the pivot point, the keys span a balance rail as in a real piano. The balance rail is the pivot point and the keys 'see-saw' over the pivot point.

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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by JoeT
The "RM3 Grand II" is a simple folded digital piano action.

RM3 Grand is not a 'folded' design. It has longish wooden keysticks and instead of a hammer assembly folded underneath or above the pivot point, the keys span a balance rail as in a real piano. The balance rail is the pivot point and the keys 'see-saw' over the pivot point.

[Linked Image]

Exact same design principle with the hammer folded alongside the lever (key) to fit it into a slab - just folded above the key.

Also notice how there is no "balance rail", as the keys are not actually balanced.


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Ridiculous. frown

@EssBrace: Why do you bother?

@MacMacMac: Why do I bother?

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Ridiculous. frown

@EssBrace: Why do you bother?

@MacMacMac: Why do I bother?

You ask the right questions Mac! There's no point, I realise that.

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Originally Posted by JoeT
Also notice how there is no "balance rail", as the keys are not actually balanced.

You keep repeating that a key in an acoustic action is balanced, but that is not true. It is neither balanced when the whippen is resting on the key (it falls backwards) nor when the whippen is off (then it falls forward). Why do you keep repeating your opinions as being universal truth?

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It's always astonishing to me how long time forum members just cannot resist destroying an otherwise useful thread but they've done so in this case.

Rather than take a significant amount of time to go back and delete all of the off topic nonsense that's been posted I'm just going to close it.

Edit: I've spent the last 20 minutes going through and deleting all of the off topic nonsense posted in this thread and will reopen it because it is actually a useful thread for current or prospective owners.

Fair warning: first post that isn't relevant to the discussion is going to get the poster some serious, perhaps permanent time off. Astonishingly, the moderators have got better things to do than spend their time cleaning up after the same forum members who persistently and repeatedly ignore forum rules.

Back to discussing the Novus NV5

Last edited by BB Player; 10/03/21 08:42 AM.

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I recently bought a new digital piano: a Kawai Novus NV5. Since I've found other people's thoughts online very useful, I figured I'd write about it in the hope that it may help others.

First, a bit of background.

I started taking piano lessons at age six and played actively up through high school, with the most time on a Yamaha C1 baby grand. In college, I stopped taking lessons, bought a Yamaha P-140, and would play once in a while; but not to the point of studying any new pieces. After college, I played almost none at all and the piano sat in its case for long periods of time. That had been the situation for more than fifteen years.

Some months ago, I was watching an anime about piano called Forest of Piano. Its intro contains Chopin's Etude in C Major, Op. 10, No. 1, which is a piece I've performed before. It was just repeatedly reminding me that, hey, I can do that! (Well, sort of. My execution is never as clean.) Why was I just watching some fictional character enjoying piano instead of playing myself? It really started getting to me.

So, I set up my old Yamaha P-140 again and picked a piece that was reasonably challenging and sounded cool to me; more on the piece later. While practicing, I found that some of the keys would once in a while fail to reset, the speakers would sometimes crackle, the cheap stand I had was a bit shaky, and the pedal would move around if I wasn't careful. I promised myself that if learned the piece pretty well and thought I'd enjoy playing more that I'd look into getting a new piano. Still digital, due to needing to practice quietly often.

Months later, here we are.

I originally thought that I'd get either a Kawai CA-79 or CA-99 due to people's praises about their great action, mimicking that of a grand piano's. Of course, one should always actually try out a piano before committing, so I went to Prosser's Piano & Organ to check them out. I decided I liked Kawai's sound signature more than Yamaha's and the action was pretty nice, though still notably fake. However, I found that the speakers of the models on the floor were disappointingly buzzy for certain notes and that the key texture was distracting. While I'd probably get used to the texture, I was pretty sure the sound would just keep on bothering me. I didn't know if it issue was just the specific pianos at the store, but I didn't want to risk buying a new one and discovering that it had the same issue. The vibrations from the sound board of the CA-99 were fun, though.

Since I was at the store anyway, I figured I'd try some of the other pianos out. One of them was the Novus NV5. I had read that the NV5 had the same speaker and sound board set up as the CA-99 and that the main difference was just that the NV5 has real upright action, so I wasn't expecting it to overcome my dislike of the buzzing. But I ended up being really surprised!

It sounded very convincingly to me like a real piano. I'm sure there are many people who would be able to immediately tell the difference, and I think it benefited from being upright shaped due to uprights sounding somewhat boxy in general, but the distinction from a real piano was pretty subtle to me. It certainly did not have the buzzy quality that the CA-79 and CA-99 in the store had. I don't know if the comparison would be generally true across other NV5's and CA-x9s.

And of course, the action felt like a real piano, notably the bounce back on repeated notes for the piece I had worked on. Playing the NV5 was just so much fun and brought a smile to my face. I ended up playing various things and performing various tests for a few hours across two different days before discussing with my wife and buying it. Because the NV5S was coming out, I was able to buy the one on the floor and avoid any risk of a different one having buzzing speaker issues.

Some of my notes and comparisons:

  • My Yamaha P-140 is of course somewhere between 15 and 20 years old and was much cheaper than the NV5, but besides some of of the more obvious advantages, some unexpected differences for me were:
    • The timbre difference between soft and loud was more pronounced for me in the NV5. I really enjoyed playing softly on the NV5, whereas on the P-140 it felt a lot more like just turning the volume down.
    • The NV5 has sympathetic resonance and the P-140 does not and it was a pretty noticeable difference.
  • The action of the NV5, at what I thought was the same volume, seemed a little heavier than the P-140, CA-79, CA-99.
  • I had read that the action made the piano play more loudly with headphones on, and while that is true, it was a pretty small difference and I can't imagine it bothering my family any more so than my P-140. So far, that has held true.
  • There was also a Novus NV10 at the store. While having a real grand piano action was great, the sound was definitely clearly artificial to me and didn't elicit the same marvelous illusion of playing on a real piano for me. It was better than the CA-79 and CA-99 at the store, though. I also did not like how it looked as much, so the net effect was just that I did not enjoy it as much as the NV5, which was a pleasant surprise for my wallet.
  • A common consideration that comes up in regards to the NV5 is that due to it having a real upright piano action, it includes a notable disadvantage of an upright: the key needs to reset at least some before being played again, or else it will not sound. This limits how fast a note can repeat and may limit other techniques that depend on the key not being fully reset (less fast repeated pianissimo maybe? I can't say that I've ever intentionally depended on this other than for very fast repetition). On this point:
    • I would indeed sometimes hit dead notes on the pieces I played, but this was due to poor technique on my part and not because the piece ran into the limitations of an upright action.
    • Compared to a K300 Aures in the store, very fast repeated notes would actually "blur" unnaturally on the NV5 in a way that I don't think a real piano would ever do while still sounding mostly distinct on the K300. But this was at a speed beyond any piece I've ever had to play. It would probably make playing something like the Scarlatti Sonata in D minor K. 141 harder, though, if it's even possible.
    • The key does not have to completely reset on either the NV5 nor K300 to sound, but it actually did have to reset further on the NV5 than the K300 to sound. So, the K300 is actually somewhat better than the NV5 in this regard.
    • I decided that, while this limitation was unfortunate, I'd be okay avoiding pieces that can't be played on an upright. At some point you just need a real grand piano to play certain pieces; I've seen avant garde stuff where the pianist reaches into the piano to pluck the strings. On the positive side, I tend to like playing on random pianos and this would allow me to practice avoiding technique that cause dead notes on real uprights.
  • I did not spend a lot of time on the K300 Aures, but the action felt the same to me, other than what I've noted above.
  • The NV5 does not support note-off velocity, but I've never played that subtly in my life and don't anticipate doing so in the future.
  • After the piano was delivered, there was sometimes rattling near the touch screen that was not present at the store, which was very disappointing. Eventually, I figured out that pressing in on the cabinet above the touch pad stopped it.


I've been playing and enjoying the piano somewhere between 1-2 hours a day for the past few weeks. Here's a video of me playing Nikolai Kapustin's Etude No. 3: Toccatina, Op. 40 on the piano, which was the piece I decided I had to test myself with before considering buying something new. This was just a quick recording I made since my parents asked me to send them one, so the execution is not the cleanest and you can hear my kid in the background at times, but it does show that the piano does not have issue with repeated notes at that tempo.

Hope somebody finds this helpful! I've definitely appreciated reading impressions on this forum.

Last edited by Ruminative Rat; 10/10/21 11:33 PM.
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Hello Ruminative Rat,

Welcome to the forum, thank you very much for sharing your detailed impressions of the NV5, and for sharing your impressive performance!

I wasn't aware that this thread had been unlocked, however for the good of the forum, I'm delighted that it has.

Kind regards,
James
x


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Hi Ruminative Rat.

Thanks for your impressions and congratulations to the new NV5. I really enjoyed you performance and I think the NV5 seems to be a stunning instrument, I'm eager to try one out. I also think it is the best looking DP ever made😊🎶.


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein
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