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.
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.
As with many of the Clavinova CLP models, Yamaha only offers a basic red letter LED display on all three piano control panels which doesn't give much info as compared to a backlit LCD display, but this piano doesn't do much either, except basically try to replace an acoustic grand and that's what these instruments are all about. The biggest major difference (although there are some others) among these pianos besides cabinet structure, is the on-board sound system. Each piano is different and the sound system was designed to give the player the spacial feeling of playing a real acoustic piano. We're talking about a lot of speakers, a lot of dedicated power amps, and about strategic placement of these speakers and power amps to give the player the sense of playing the real thing. And that has always been one of the main problems with digital pianos; spatially and environmentally that just don't emulate the organic nature of sound coming out of a good acoustic piano. However, Yamaha has done an excellent job with trying to solve this dilemma and it shows.
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.
Kawai also has a new cabinet model digital piano out now called a CA95 with wooden keys, escapement/let-off mechanism, triple sensor key control, ivory feel keys, and a wood acoustic piano type soundboard. It's also stereo samples and can layer 2 instrument sounds together. It's worth checking out because it's about half the price of the basic AvantGrand N1.
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.