|NU1 key action|
When it comes to the piano sound itself, Yamaha has a new sampled acoustic sound not found in their other digital pianos which they call CFX sampling using 256-note polyphony, and in my opinion this new piano sound sample is better than what's in their higher priced AvantGrand N series in certain ways. It's really a very pleasing tone and well done utilizing some advanced sampling technology and taken from Yamaha's best acoustic grand pianos. However, even though the piano sampled sound itself may be inherently good and realistic, the piano needs an excellent & well positioned internal speaker system for the sound to be heard correctly, and unfortunately that's one of the weak points of the NU1 in my opinion. The audio power in this model is super big and loud (if you want it to be loud) at 160 watts total (four 40-watt amps) into 4 speakers. In fact when you turn up the volume, it can difficult to play the piano softly or quietly because the minimum volume when playing the keys softly comes in a bit too loud and kind of jumps out at you...at least this was my experience playing it. So at louder volumes, the NU1 volume dynamics are not like a real acoustic upright piano when playing normally on regular settings. Also, when you're sitting at the piano it seems like most of the sound comes out under the piano keyboard where your legs & feet are and then goes out into the room without the player getting the full effect of what a good console piano should sound like. If you think about it, an acoustic vertical piano such as the one pictured below left (which this NU1 is trying to replace) has hammers which strike the strings nearer to the upper middle of the piano (above where your hands are playing) and resonating/amplified through the soundboard behind the
|Acoustic piano with open top|
|acoustic piano back soundboard|
connect a flashdrive to it and save your recordings and play them back. The piano volume knob is also underneath the front of the piano so that it is hidden to provide that minimalistic look (a nice touch). There is also 1/4" audio inputs, 1/4" audio outputs, MIDI connectors, and a USB to computer or iPad connection. I happen to use an iPad quite a bit in my studio and connect to my digital pianos for educational and song practice apps. If you put an iPad in front of you on the NU1 you'll need to connect it with a USB cable going over the side or over the top of the piano and then into the connectors under the front of the piano....unfortunately that won't look too pretty, and in this day of Bluetooth technology the NU1 is definitely behind in this area which is another shortfall and would have solved the cable issue some ways, especially for a piano like this.
When it comes down to what you are getting for the money, for many people, the NU1 does deliver an elegant look with a slow close key cover and chrome pedals with half-pedaling function, very good piano tone (especially through headphones), minimalistic sophistication, and above all, an excellent wood vertical key action movement (not grand action) which is much better than the Yamaha Clavinova series, all in a small compact contemporary cabinet size. As I mentioned earlier, the NU1 does not have the height of a real upright piano since it is only 40" tall. A real upright acoustic piano like the popular Yamaha U1 is 48" tall so the NU1 digital piano is much shorter and more like a small console piano in height as I mentioned earlier. It is good to keep this in mind so you do not think this actually reproduces the same size as an upright piano. However, the sound is not generated by the bigger hammers, bigger upright piano strings, or large soundboard of a taller acoustic upright piano because the NU1 sound is produced 100% digitally so it does not need to be bigger and/or taller than what it is...except maybe to have extra room for an internal speaker system that would produce a more realistic acoustic sound experience, as I mentioned earlier. If Yamaha had designed in a top internal speaker system coming up and out of a grill on the top of the piano (Kawai has done that), then things would have definitely have been improved in my opinion.
|Yamaha NU1 w/closed key cover|
In the final analysis I would definitely recommend the Yamaha NU1, although I much prefer more digital features for this kind of money, but overall the NU1 is a very nice option, especially over any of the Yamaha Clavinova CLP500 series digital pianos in my opinion as far as key action, piano sound, and pedaling authenticity goes and I do enjoy playing the NU1 even with some of its deficiencies, although there are other digital piano models and brands that deliver a more authentic piano playing experience. When anyone is looking to spend close to $5000 I always recommend to shop the different brands thoroughly and do your homework...you'll be glad you did. Please contact me before you purchase any piano anywhere and I will give you free personal advice on which one may be best for your needs and your budget.
*quoted text in my review is from Rhonda Ringering in the Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer publication Spring 2013.
If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct at 602-571-1864.
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