|New CLP440 white|
But for me as someone who has played hundreds of different digital pianos over the years, words are meaningless because at the end of the day, your enjoyment level will not be based on words, but on reality instead. Does the piano you purchased feel like and sound like a piano to you? Does it make you happy when you play it and hear it? Will it reproduce the kind of music you like when you play the piano? Those are the real questions that you need to ask when purchasing any piano. Descriptive words used to define technologies and various models do give you a point of reference, but you must judge a piano by its own merit and not by the words used to describe it. I did like the new acoustic piano sounds and nuances that come along with it. They are very nice although sound and touch ultimately is quite subjective based on one's own piano playing and listening experiences.
I did notice something on the CLP430 & CLP440 which bothered me a bit. The GH3 (the number 3 stands for a 3rd key sensor key which is a good thing) action is somewhat overly stiff or resistant in my opinion when you play the keys lightly or softly across the keyboard. However the CLP470 & 480 wooden key action seems to be better and I don't notice that issue at all based on my experiences with them. Yamaha tries to design their CLP key actions to emulate an acoustic piano, as all good piano manufacturers try to do. But when you play a real acoustic upright piano, the keys get progressively and slightly easier to push down as you move up the keyboard from left to right. This is a necessary part of key action design. The CLP key action is 'graded' in weight and overall does get progressively easier as you move up the keyboard, but the general heaviness of the keys on the CLP430 & CLP440 is still noticeable, at least to me. This may not be apparent to the average person when playing the new CLP piano, but if you played a good Yamaha (or other good brands) acoustic upright piano and compared it with these specific CLP digital pianos, you would probably notice the difference.
The pianos have good volume output, especially the CLP480 with a gazillion watts of total volume! Actually the 480 has a total of 200 watts of power into multiple built-in speakers which will just blow you away if you want that high volume and also puts out quality tone with low volume too. The CLP480 also has over 500 instrument sounds to choose from as compared with just 28 on the CLP470. And the CLP480 is the only model of the bunch that can play & record General MIDI song files through 16 individual instrument tracks which helps with learning, practice, and is a lot of fun to play along with. Too bad you gotta get the top model to experience the General MIDI and multiple instrument 16 track sound and playback features. The CLP470 should have those features as well considering that model sells for well over $3000. Even some of Yamaha's least expensive piano keyboards ($799 internet price) have General MIDI song playback & recording and hundreds of nice instrument sounds available, but Yamaha obviously knew what they were doing by making people pay more money and forcing them up to the CLP480 if they wanted those cool features.
All models have attractive, sturdy cabinets with front legs (above left), nice ivory feel keys (all except CLP430), USB flash drive device input for audio .wav file and basic MIDI piano song play (does not play General MIDI song files except for CLP480) and overall very good key 'feel' and piano sound. Yamaha says they have reproduced the sound, touch, and pedal nuances found in fine acoustic pianos with their new technology in this improved 400 series of digital pianos. I would agree they have done a very nice job of this and for some intermediate to advanced players, or students wanting to get to an advanced level, this would be a nice benefit. But for many families who are looking for a good, solid digital piano as a form of recreation and enjoyment for less money, there are certainly other options that would still give people high quality, many useful educational features, and an attractive cabinet as well.
The lowest priced Clavinova model is the CLP430 which sells on average for somewhere between $2000-$2300 US at Yamaha piano stores. However, the Kawai piano company has a newer digital piano for the US & Canadian market called the CE220 at $1899US internet price (left pic), which in my opinion, outperforms the Yamaha CLP430 and for less money. The Kawai CE220 has actual acoustic piano full length wooden keys (left pic) with graduated weighted key action, 192-notes of polyphony, 3 traditional full functioning pedals with half-damper control, 100 pro rhythm patterns for rhythm and timing training, 22 very impressive instrument sounds, 4-hand duet play function, and comes in an attractive satin black furniture style cabinet with bench. And to think all that is just $1899 is pretty amazing. I have played and listened extensively to the Kawai CE220 and it is really outstanding for its lower price. You would need to go up to the CLP470 before you get the higher polyphony and wood keys. The CE220 also has USB flash drive input to save recorded MIDI songs, USB to computer/iPad output, stereo audio inputs & outputs, and some other very cool features. Take a look at my CE220 review here: Kawai CE220 Piano Review
|CLP440 polished ebony|
Casio PX850 Review. As digital technology progresses and advances, it allows for better products at lower prices in many product categories (such as cell phones, tablets, TV's, digital pianos, etc), and such would seem to be the case in this new Casio PX850. I would also recommend in the higher price range (over $3000) the new Kawai CA65 & CA95 which are very impressive with their grand piano let-off key action and also Roland's newer HP505 & 507 which offer more sounds and the let-off grand key action like Kawai. Those models compare favorably to the Yamaha CLP470 & CLP480.