With that in mind, the AvantGrand series is obviously not intended to be a digital piano with a vast array of built-in technology & features (it doesn't even have a USB computer output - just MIDI) let alone many extra instrument sounds, layering, splitting, drum patterns, etc. These digital instruments are made to replicate an acoustic grand piano with cutting edge digital technology in beautiful (and very contemporary looking) polished ebony cabinets designed to replace the acoustic grand piano experience whether in an upright configuration or baby grand style configuration. Do they actually completely replace that acoustic grand experience for everyone? No they do not because different people have different musical standards, tastes, and musical experiences. So for some, this piano will not do it, and for others it's more than they dreamed of having. It just depends.
Yamaha's 256-note polyphony (polyphony is important when more notes and damper pedaling are used at the same time in a piece of music) is very high in today's digital piano standards, but ultimately not high enough considering the price tag of these pianos. A good digital piano reproduces an acoustic piano sound that is recorded in stereo on a chosen acoustic piano with 2 microphones placed near or inside the acoustic piano, and that recording is what you hear in the digital piano. In some cases more mics are used for more realism in sound which can increase the needed amount of polyphony. In a stereo piano sound (not mono), each part or side of the stereo recording takes up separate polyphony so that 88 keys really needs a minimum of 128 notes of polyphony per side. On top of that, if there is damper resonance coming from the damper/sustain pedal and this would also require polyphony memory. Finally, the AvantGrands should have been made to allow the player to mix or layer two stereo instrument tones together which is a more common feature of other digital pianos. I am guessing Yamaha did not do that because then they may not have had enough polyphony to allow that to happen or they just didn't think people would care to layer 2 sounds together (I would disagree with that thinking). In reality, these pianos should have a minimum of 512 note polyphony or higher because after all, even the new Yamaha Clavinova CLP535 which sells for about $2200 discount price has 256-note polyphony and the new Casio PX860 ($1099 internet price) has 256 note polyphony. You would think for the the much higher prices, the AvantGrands would have at least double that, but they don't and that's a disappointment, at least it is to me. Certainly an argument can be made for 256-note polyphony to be more than enough more most people when playing a single acoustic piano tone on the AvantGrand,, but that is not the point. These pianos should not only have the ability to layer sounds together, but as I said earlier, for the money they should have a more powerful polyphony sound engine anyway. But that's just my opinion.
All three pianos have a digital transpose/modulation feature, 1-track recorder (not much), and the upright style N2 has a concealed sliding drawer (left pic) that pulls out from under the piano keyboard to expose the instrument control buttons needed to change sounds and functions. This is a very nice way to hide the controls to make the piano look more natural. However, the buttons are very small on the control drawer. The buttons on the N1 are exposed on the front side panel of the piano and those buttons are unusually hard to push down although the N2 buttons are different and much easier to use. Why Yamaha chose to have two different sets of control buttons on the N1 & N2 doesn't make sense to me, especially with one set of buttons being so difficult to physically push down. But you'd only want to push the buttons when changing sounds, and in reality, the grand piano sound is the main reason why someone would buy one of the AvantGrand digital piano models...but still the N1 buttons are not so good in my opinion.
Overall the key action feels great to play (yes it is like playing a real grand piano) and the grand piano sound is great, but let's not lose sight of the fact that there is no standard for "greatness" when it comes to grand piano touch and tone in any good grand piano. Everyone has different expectations and experiences and so these pianos will either blow you away, or you may be slightly disappointed when comparing them to what you "think" a grand piano should feel and sound like. It's very subjective, but I happen to like these instruments a lot and they are a joy to play for me.
But here's the one major drawback to all of them in my opinion; this is the very 1st series of these "hybrid digital pianos" that Yamaha has created and they were introduced around 2009, and given what digital technology is these days and how fast it's moving, the N1, N2, & N3 selling prices are really quite high as is typical with newer digital/hybrid piano technology in attractive furniture style cabinets. However, you cannot really say that about a great acoustic baby or full grand piano like a Kawai, Yamaha, Steinway, Mason-Hamlin, or Boston, etc. Even used versions of those pianos, which can be less money than these new AvantGrands, are safer bets and will always be wonderful instruments if well taken care of. There are no speakers, amplifiers, or control panels to go bad in acoustic pianos so when you consider spending this much money, just know that Plasma TV's used to be the big thing and were big bucks once upon a time, but that's not the case any more. Yes I know you cannot "play a TV" but you get the point. I wouldn't be surprised if an iPad could be inserted in and interfaced with one of these pianos in the future along with other great things to make the playing experience even better which will leave these particular AvantGrands in the digital dust. But until that day comes, this is what we have.
To sum up my experience with the AvantGrands, I really do enjoy playing them and the key action, and knowing you can turn down the volume and also use headphones for private practice, is why people buy this series of pianos, as well as the impressive speaker systems putting out some convincing sound. If you have the disposable income and like what they do, how they sound & play, and are impressed with their cabinet designs, then buy one and enjoy!
If you want more info on these and other pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at email@example.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.