|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 Clavinova series as well as what's in the higher priced AvantGrand series. 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 speaker system for the sound to be heard correctly and unfortunately that's the weak point 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, but when your 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 upright should sound like. If you think about it, an acoustic upright style piano such as the one pictured above left (which this NU1 is trying to replace) has hammers which strike the strings nearer to the middle (or above) of the piano (and resonating/amplified through the soundboard behind the
|Acoustic piano with open top|
|acoustic piano back soundboard|
With only 5 instrument sounds (1 full stereo grand piano, one brighter basic piano, 2 nice electric pianos, a very nice pluck harpsichord), and basic digital functions (such as reverb, touch sensitivity levels, & a metronome) mounted in the side block to the left of the keyboard, the NU1 is not very advanced technologically in that way, but it obviously wasn't designed to compete with all the extra digital piano technology out there in other models and brands with lots of sounds, drum rhythms, multi-track recording and playback, General MIDI, MP3 audio, etc. The user display is just a small, simple LED with numbers instead of having a more understandable and user friendly multi character LCD display such as what is on the Yamaha Clavinova CLP480. Yamaha obviously did that to make this piano as minimalistic as possible and they did a very good job of it, and some people will like that quite a bit, but it just depends on what you want. There is a USB flashdrive input under the front of the piano so that you can
When it comes down to what you are getting for the money, for most people, the new 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 key action movement in a small compact contemporary cabinet size. Speaking of compact size, 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. 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. The NU1 does not have the new synthetic ivory keytops (it uses Acrylic resin white keytops like regular acoustic pianos), nor does it have the duet 4-hand function which splits the piano keyboard in two equal 44-key keyboards and lets two people play the piano at the same time in the same octaves (teacher student, etc). It also does not allow for layering of two instrument sounds together which is a disappointment for me because I love to layer sounds, especially grand piano and strings. The NU1 does not have a string sound (a favorite for many people)...and that is a big disappointment to me for sure. With no strings and no layering I cannot utilize the big 256-note polyphony in the NU1 and enjoy my favorite sound layer (grand piano and string symphony)...but hey, this piano is minimalistic in its approach to functions and features so if you want more than what the NU1 can do and you can be happy with another key action in the same price range, you should then look at the Yamaha Clavinova series of digital pianos. Or, you can buy an external instrument MIDI sound module or get additional instrument tones from ipad apps which would also work. But you would have to connect your sound module or iPad audio and MIDI outputs to the NU1 which will create that exposed cable issue I was talking about. So it's probably best not to worry about getting extra external sounds and functions if you want your piano to look unencumbered by cables and just keep it simple.
|Yamaha NU1 w/closed key cover|
** 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.