Yamaha N1X, N2, N3X - REVIEW | Hybrid Digital Pianos | 2022

Yamaha N1 X, N2, N3X AvantGrand review
UPDATED REVIEWJune 1, 2022 | Yamaha AvantGrand Hybrid Digital Pianos - Yamaha N1X ($9799), N2 ($11,999), N3X grand piano ($17,799) selling price. I have played various professional brands of acoustic grand & upright pianos for a very long time including Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin, Mason-Hamlin, Bosendorfer, and many others. The drawbacks to playing large acoustic pianos in your home is that they are obviously big, they're always loud (or louder), they're very difficult to play at soft volume for your home...and of course they need regular  tuning & maintenance. Also, with all of the useful computer/iPad music technology out there these days for educational and music playing purposes, it is much easier to connect to that world through a digital piano as opposed to a traditional acoustic piano. 

Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano
Good acoustic pianos can still be an amazing instrument to play and if all you want to do is play piano, you are not concerned or bothered by the loud volume of an acoustic piano, and you are fine with spending money every year on maintaining the acoustic piano, and you can afford a top brand acoustic grand piano at a minimum of $15,000 on up to over $100,000 or more, then I would recommend you purchase an acoustic grand piano because there is nothing like the real thing. 

Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital pianoHowever, if you are like me and need a good high quality piano with a smaller "footprint," you don't like playing a piano that's out-of-tune often which can be the case depending on the climate you live in, you would like to play the piano very quietly at times so you don't disturb others in the house and you know you cannot do that on a regular acoustic piano, and you would like to easily connect with technology including an external computer, tablet, etc, then the Yamaha AvantGrand series of Hybrid digital pianos may be the perfect instrument for you to consider because it offers all of those desirable features without the size, cost, and maintenance of a full size acoustic grand piano.

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Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano
I have played all of the AvantGrand models many times and it was more than 10 years ago when I did a review of the previous AvantGrand series which included the N1, N2, and N3. At that time these models were the 1st ever truly hybrid digital pianos that combined a great Yamaha "acoustic grand piano key action" in contemporary polished ebony piano cabinets with all digitally sampled piano sound from real acoustic pianos, along with other digital piano technology. These 3 models have been popular ever since for people who wanted as close of a grand piano playing experience as they could get but without all the inconveniences and costs associated with a real full size acoustic grand piano. But after over 8 years of being on the market, Yamaha has "improved" the AvantGrand "N" series pianos and come out with a 
Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano new version of the N1 which is now the N1X and a new version of the N3 which is called the N3X. It is interesting to note that so far Yamaha is keeping the previous N2 in the lineup "as is" with no changes...so far other than the selling price going down a bit.  

Whether Yamaha makes any changes to the N2 (they should) or even discontinues it is yet to be seen. In my opinion, of the 3 previous models, the N2 was considered by many to be the one most people wanted to get because it had the much nicer cabinet (over the N1), much more advanced internal speaker system over the more basic N1, it took up a lot less room than the N3 4' deep grand shaped version while otherwise being the identical piano Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano (with the exception of cabinet & internal speaker system), and it was definitely less money than the N3. So if someone wanted a big, full, resonate piano sound along with a big bass response (which most piano players love) and you wanted the actual grand piano key action playing experience (the real hybrid action), the N2 was the one to go for. 

I would have thought that Yamaha might have upgraded to N2 to the specs of the N3X by now, but as I just mentioned so far they have not done that. Then is it worth "dropping down" to the newer N1X to get the "upgraded" piano sounds and newer digital features but. at the same time, giving up the bigger and better internal sound system and the more contemporary full cabinet design and construction of the N2? Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. There are reasons to consider both sides of that question since the two models are only $1000 apart, and yet the N2 is way less money than the newer N3X at a difference of $5600. So then even if you can afford to purchase either the N2 or the N3X and you don't absolutely need the "grand piano shaped" model because what you are really after is that "grand piano acoustic key action, maybe the N2 is the better buy? I will explore those questions (and more) below.

N2 pic open lid - open key cover
What makes the AvantGrand series of pianos unique is that they have Yamaha acoustic Grand piano key actions in them...actual all wood original acoustic parts with the exception of the felt hammers which are instead metal rods that trigger optical sensors which are located at both the hammer portion of the key action as well and the keys themselves. As the "hammers" move back & forth when striking a key, they trigger that special advanced optical sensing system which causes the piano sound chip to make the piano sound. The sound you get is also relative to the velocity of the keys that are moving and the optical sensors can tell how fast or slow the keys are going in fractions of a second at any given time. There are no strings in the piano or acoustic wooden soundboard like you would find in a real acoustic piano. So the thing that makes the AvantGrand series of pianos be referred to as "Hybrid" is the fact that they have a real fully functional (but without hammers) acoustic key action which is ultimately what most piano players are Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano primarily concerned about...key action, followed by piano sound and pedaling response...and then cabinet design and structure. 

The N1X, N2, and N3X all have the same acoustic "grand piano" key action in them including the let-off/escapement feature that is found in real grand pianos. The key actions are not patterned after upright type pianos but instead the actions come from actual Yamaha acoustic grand pianos and then slightly modified (in size and configuration) for the AvantGrand series. This means that no matter which model AvantGrand that you would purchase, the key action movement and response will all be the same...and that's a very good thing. The key Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano action really is a joy to play, especially for those people who have had experience playing full size acoustic grand pianos and this key action gives you a great range of sensitivity which allows you to get a full dynamic range of tonal expression out of the piano sound. 

When it comes to pianos in general including both acoustic and digital pianos, the "weight" of the keys and the minimum force it takes to press the keys down and Yamaha N2 digital keyboard the maximum force of the keys coming back up once you press them down is of critical importance to advanced pianist and acoustic piano key actions can (for the most part) be "regulated & adjusted" to get the movement of the keys to be set to exacting standards. 

Key weight/force and key resistance can be measured in grams as far as how much force the key requires from the fingers to press down aka: touch-weight/down-weight) and how fast or slow the key returns to its resting position (aka: up-weight). Although there is no "exact" perfect regulated weight for key actions, there are some approximate rough standards for acoustic grand pianos key action static downweight upweight force and that would be about 52-57 grams of touch-weight pressing the keys down and approx half of that weight coming back up. Some people prefer it to be lighter at about 47-50 grams going down and other people prefer it to be slightly heavier at 55-60 grams of touch-weight with about half that weight (23 - 30 grams) for the return force of the key. I am talking about these things because when you piano down weight are spending this much money on an Avantgrand model you definitely want the key action to be regulated as close to a large acoustic grand piano as possible. 

When I measured key action weight on a new Yamaha acoustic 9' CFX grand piano, the touch-weight as measured on Middle C was approx 54 grams and the up-weight was 27 grams which is just about perfect. It could be a bit less or a bit more but those figures are very good for key action movement. When I took a measurement recently on a new N3X AvantGrand, the touch-weight/down-weight of the key action at Middle C was 55 grams and the up-weight was 25 grams which means that the up-weight of the action was almost just right.

I also took the measurements of a N2 key action weight which is the same key action as in the N3X. That N2 key action measurement was 59 grams of down-weight and 24 grams of up-weight on the one I measured, although I have played many of them. The N2 was on the slightly heavier side of down-weight force when initially touching the key but it was 23 grams of force coming back up. So either the down-weight needs to adjusted to be lighter or the up-weight needs to be adjusted to be heavier, or both need to be slightly adjusted...but that all depends on the player and what they want and how the key action feels to them. It is true that friction, weather, and humidity can make a difference in how those keys actually move so things can change in an acoustic key action depending on the area of the country you live in and how you take care of your piano.

yamaha cfx sampling
The piano sampled sounds in the new Yamaha N3X and N1X is from their top of the line Yamaha CFX 9' acoustic concert grand and the Bosendorfer 9'6" acoustic Viennese concert grand. Yamaha owns the Bosendorfer grand piano company of Vienna, Austria so that is why they also include that piano sound in the new Avantgrand models. Both of those pianos are rich and vibrant in yamaha cfx grand piano their tone but yet uniquely different with the Yamaha being a more bombastic, energetic tone while the Bosendorfer has a more melodic, sweeter piano tone but still with depth of tone. Both are rich in flavor and you could like either one or both of them depending on the music you are playing. 

On the older Avantgrand model N2, the piano sound comes from Yamaha's previous 9" concert grand called the CFIIIS which was equally as popular and beautiful as the newer CFX model, in my opinion. I say "equally" because both those 9' acoustic grand piano models  had a big sound and Yamaha's proprietary way of building acoustic grand pianos that many professional players love. bosendorfer imperial concert grand piano The CFX model AvantGrand has had some "tweaks" and other things done to it as compared to the CFIIIS AvantGrand including the addition of "Virtual Resonance Modeling" (VRM) which tries to simulate the vibrations that occur organically in the real wooden grand piano in terms of having "virtual" cabinet vibrations and sympathetic string and tonal vibrations. But the "recorded" piano sound that is put into the former N3 and current N3X is still done with microphones and technology that tries to capture the original sound of those acoustic pianos and they can only go so far given the sound is recorded electronically and then bosendorfer heard through speakers in the digital piano. 

Without an actual soundboard, real strings, and an all wooden case built like a real piano, all digital pianos just try to "copy" the real thing but they aren't the real thing. In that way it just depends what your playing experience is on real acoustic concert grand or regular grand pianos and how often you have played them which can determine how you will feel about the authenticity of this hybrid digital pianos. One advantage to the new "X" series is that they more & different acoustic piano samples in them with both the Yamaha and the N3X music rack down Bosendorfer, as I mentioned as opposed to only the Yamaha in the N2 model. However, when you think about it, acoustic pianos have just 1 piano sound per piano so what you get is what you have. In a digital piano there are more sound options for grand pianos typically, so in the N3X and N1X you have 5 different grand piano sounds and in the N2 there are just 2 grand piano sounds....but hey, that's still one more than a real piano! 

The bottom line is, all 3 pianos offer a very satisfying piano playing experience overall, and with that very special Yamaha acoustic grand piano key action, the combination is really nice. I will say that the sound of the N3X is much more immediate to the ears when sitting on the bench playing music with the music rack down in a flat position. When the music rack is up in its normal position so that you can put sheet music on it, in my opinion that rack partially blocks the sound coming from the speakers flowing directly towards your ears. With the music rack in the down/flat position on the N3X then the piano sound flows without being blocked in any way and so is more clear, more immediate, and overall more enjoyable, at least it was to me. I did not get that same impression with the N2 or N1X as the speakers are much closer to the player and the sound flows more quickly and naturally...at least that's the impression I had.

yamaha trs tactile response key vibration system
One other thing that is interesting about piano sound in a real acoustic piano is that sound is made up of vibrations and those vibrations travel through the air along with resonating and vibrating physical things that the sound comes in contact with and the wood soundboard of the piano is what amplifies those frequencies and vibrations into the piano sound. Without the wood soundboard there Yamaha TRS system in AvantGrand would be no piano sound in a real acoustic piano. That's what the speakers in a digital piano do, they are in place of a wood soundboard and that's where the sound comes from. But that's not the only thing sound vibrations in a real wooden piano...you can also "feel" those vibrations coming through the wooden cabinet of the piano as well as through the wooden keys of the piano. 

In fact when you are playing piano keys using your fingers to press the keys down, you can "feel" sound vibrations coming through the keys themselves and going into your fingertips giving you an organic sensation that helps further connect you to the music you are playing. Since the piano sound in digital pianos come through speakers and the cabinets of digital pianos are not actually solid core wood or wood veneers but instead are usually MDF board, then there are few or no vibrations coming through any other part of a digital piano cabinet or keys themselves. An example would be if you had a big stereo sound system in your home connected to your TV and you're watching a scene with lots of dramatic music going on with big bass frequencies coming out of those speakers. 

You can feel those vibrations coming into you and rattling the walls of your room, etc...so not only do you hear a big sound, but you also feel it. With the AvantGrand digital pianos, Yamaha created a digital system called TRS (Tactile Response System) that would give the player the physical sensation you would get in "feeling" vibrations in the keys themselves on the AvantGrand N2 and N3X like you would get in a real piano. 

The N1X does not have this TRS feature so you need to bump up to the N2 to get it. The amount of vibrations you get through the keys is electronically adjustable as well so you can change the amount of "vibrations" you get from the keys. There are no other digital pianos I know of with this feature and although it may not be "deal-breaker" if a digital piano did not have this system, which most do not, it is a cool feature to have and it adds a touch more of that organic playing experience that more advanced pianists will appreciate.

yamaha digital piano pedal
All three pianos have fairly smooth pedaling allowing the nuances needed for all kinds of music, although the piano keyboard itself does not physically move laterally when pressing down the "soft pedal" like it would when using the una corda/soft pedal on a real acoustic grand, but it doesn't have to because it's after all...it's a digital piano and there are no dampers for pedaling, it's all electronic in that way. All three models have a built-in sustain/damper pedal with half-damper effect, middle sostentuto pedal, and left soft pedal. Since the N1X and N2 are upright vertical style, the pedals are built into the bottom of the piano. On the N3X there is a traditional looking triple pedal lyre so that it has the look and feel of traditional grand piano pedals but without the full compliment of parts. The pedals are quite firm to press down as is the case on some yamaha digital piano pedal acoustic grand pianos. 

So if you like firm pedals then you'll like the pedaling experience on the AvantGrand models. It did appear as if the height of the triple pedals when measured from the floor up to the bottom of pedals on the N3X seemed a bit higher than on a traditional acoustic Yamaha grand piano, and my preference are for pedals that are a bit closer to the ground for easier access and less ankle strain...but that is a preference that I have and not everyone is the same in that way. The half-damper effect for the sustain pedal is adjustable and also the sustain/decay time for the piano sound is very long which is good, and you have variable sustain amounts using the sustain pedal in a "half position." The pedals overall reacted nicely and a variety of music can be played knowing the pedals do a good job of reproducing what they are like (with the exception of physical una corda pedal.

Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano
N1X
The AvantGrand series is obviously not intended to be a digital piano with a vast array of built-in technology & features let alone many extra instrument sounds, layering, splitting, drum patterns, etc. These digital instruments are primarily made to replicate an acoustic grand piano playing experience with cutting edge digital technology in beautiful (and very contemporary looking) polished ebony cabinets designed to replace the actual 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 Yamaha N1X, N2, N3X | REVIEW | Hybrid Digital Pianos | 2021 musical standards, tastes, and musical experiences so they will all have different opinions as to what constitutes a "real" grand piano playing experience. 

So for some, this piano will not do it, and for others it's more than they dreamed of having. As far are the digital functions and features of the pianos, the N3X and N1X each have 10 instrument sounds including 5 acoustic piano tones, 3 electric piano tones, and 2 harpsichord tones. The less expensive N1X actually has 15 instrument sounds which is 5 more than the N3X and those sound include the same 10 instrument tones but also adds celesta and 4 different organs (3 pipe organs & 1 jazz organ). The organs tones are really very nice and why the N1X got more sounds than the more expensive N3X, I don't know...but you would think it might be the other way around, but it isn't. The N2 has just 5 instrument sounds including 2 acoustic pianos, 2 electric pianos, and 1 harpsichord. 

Those sounds are very good, particularly the acoustic piano tones, but there are just 5 of them and unfortunately there are no strings, choirs, or other tones in these pianos that I personally would like to have seen. You can access all of these AvantGrand tones on the control panel slide-out drawer by pressing the sound button and simultaneously pressing the +/- button or through the Smart Pianist app for iPad (which I talk about below). 

There are a few reverb/echo effects for more realism in the instrument tones, a brilliance control to add more brightness to the tone or make it more mellow, and an adjustable digital metronome to help with keeping you "on the beat."

Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano Yamaha's 256-note polyphony piano sound chip in the AvantGrand pianos (polyphony is important when more notes and damper pedaling are used at the same time in a piece of music) is still very high for today's digital piano standards. A good digital piano reproduces an acoustic piano sound that is recorded in stereo on a chosen acoustic piano with multiple microphones placed near or inside the acoustic piano, and that recording is what you hear in the digital piano along with other technology that adds to the organic nature of that sound. In a stereo piano sound (not mono) of a digital piano, each part or side of Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano 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. Also, in my opinion 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 that have many more instrument sounds including strings, choirs, organs, etc. Even the more basic Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos have many more instrument sounds that I personally enjoying listening to and playing. I am guessing Yamaha did not do that because maybe the so-called "wise" people at Yamaha just didn't think people would care to layer/mix 2 sounds together in these new AvantGrand models such as harpsichord & piano or piano & strings, etc, because the pianos are marketed to people who just mainly want to play piano and those people would not care about this feature, but I would disagree with that thinking.

Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano
All three pianos have a digital transpose/modulation feature which is great if you want to modulate the key you are playing in (up or down) and you don't know how to do that by manually playing in another key, a 1-track MIDI recorder and also wav file audio recorder to record your playing in either format and be able to save it for playing back later.  The upright style N2 (and N3X) 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 although the buttons are very small on the control drawer which can make it a bit difficult to select functions and features, especially if you have "fat finger tips" like I do. The buttons on the N1X are exposed on the front right side panel of the piano (to the right of the keyboard) and those buttons are unusually hard to push down although the N2 buttons are a bit easier to press...but not by much. Why Yamaha chose to have two different Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano sets of control buttons on the N1X, N2/N3X doesn't make sense to me, but no doubt it saves them money. 

You will likely only want to push the buttons when changing instrument sounds and maybe for a couple other features like recording, and for many people the grand piano sound is the main reason why someone would buy one of the AvantGrand digital piano models. However, I will go on record and say that I personally do not like the small, hard-button user interface on these pianos. When the previous models (N1, N2, N3) first came out I was disappointed in the user interface and the way it worked (although I did like the slide-out control drawer itself). But now that Yamaha "refreshed" both the N1 and N3 to the N1X and N3X, I thought that Yamaha would have updated that user interface and made it more yamaha smart pianist graphics intuitive and easy to use...but they did not...and I am definitely disappointed with Yamaha on that level. 

Also, there is only a basic LED user display which only reads out basic numbers or letters to indicate the feature or function you have chosen. In these newer versions Yamaha certainly could have updated that older, clunky display to a more modern, user-friendly LCD with more displayed information so you could know what going on when you press a button...but again, Yamaha did not do that. On the N2 and N3X, being able to tuck away a "sliding drawer" back under the piano keyboard is a great idea, but not at the expense of such a clunky interface, especially in this day and age of more advanced user interface technology. However, with this in mind, Yamaha does have iPad N3X CFX picture an excellent "work-around" to this clunky interface that is on the N1X and N3X and it's a proprietary iOS app called "Smart Pianist." This very cool app allows you to take an iPad and use your color touch screen to control the piano functions and features instead of doing it with the buttons on the piano. 

It works well, it's fun to use, and it gets the job done in a much more intuitive way. All you need is an iPad, a cable connection to the USB output of the piano, or an optional wireless device to allow you to connect with Bluetooth wireless MIDI connectivity. Unfortunately because the N2 model is from the previous generation (non-X) AvantGrand series, the Smart Pianist app does not work with the N2...bummer! But...if you mainly just want to play piano and occasionally use another sound here and there and maybe do a basic recording, then the slide-out drawer should be enough, especially because there are only 5 instrument sounds on the N2.

Quick Operation Guide
I think it is also important to mention that there is another way to navigate through the additional functions and features of the AvantGrand pianos including metronome, song volume, brilliance control, transpose, etc, and for this additional navigation method you would you a "chart" found in the owners manual of the pianos called "Quick Operation Guide." The chart shows you how to press either the song button, piano/voice button, or the function button plus simultaneously pressing a specific white or black key on the keyboard which would then trigger or activate that function or allow you to change that function in some way like adding more to it or less to it. For instance, if you want to use the metronome then by pressing the metronome button on the control panel slide-out drawer and then pressing the B or Bb note in the 4th octave of keys, you could decrease the tempo incrementally. 

If you wanted to increase the speed of the metronome tempo then you could press the metronome button on the control panel and then at the same time press the D or Db key in the 5th octave of keys to incrementally increase the metronome temp. This might seem like a lot of work just to alter one function in one way...and you would be right! 

But...for some people this may be a workable alternative in using features if you chose to do it that way. Personally, I would rather have a dedicated button and an LCD display screen to quickly tell me what was happening...and that's why, at least for me, the Smart Pianist app is the way to do it.

iPad N3X sound list
The Yamaha Smart Pianist App has a number of specific advantages over using the physical control buttons on the piano in that slide-out drawer on the N3X and the button panel in the N1X. Just so you know, you either need to connect your iPad to the piano USB output using a USB cable and Apple "Camera Kit" Lightning adapter cable.or purchase an optional Yamaha Bluetooth MIDI wireless adapter so that you can connect without a cable (which definitely would be nicer to do). Some of those advantages to this Smart Pianist app are pretty apparent such as you don't have to find and press those silly, small, hard buttons iPad Utility - transpose, tuning, etc on the control box slide-out drawer or on the side panel of the N1X. 

To choose a sound on the slide-out control drawer you have to press the "piano/voice" button and then while holding that button down you have to simultaneously press the +/- menu navigation button to scroll to the instrument sound number that you want to get to. So as an example, you want the Bosendorfer Imperial Piano sound, then you hold that piano/voice button down and then press the +/_ button twice so that the LED display screen says number 2. Number 2 is that sound and you only know that the #2 is that Bosendorfer sound because you iPad TRS level Touch level etc looked in the owner's manual in the sound list. The LED display itself tells you nothing except showing a number and/or basic letter depending on what function you are trying to find. 

Since that drawer is on the far left side of the piano under the keyboard, just reaching over there is a challenge and then to use one hand and two fingers to hold down those 2 buttons simultaneously is a big "pain" as well....that is unless you want to also reach over with your right hand and then use 2 hands to switch sounds...NOT. You would think that once you have selected a sound that you want then when iPad N3X song library list you switch that sound to another one all you should have to do is press the +/- button and go up or down to the number you want. But nooooo...you gotta hold that piano/voice button and the +/- button simultaneously again to move to another function/sound...and all this grief for a mere $17,800...ridiculous. So...the Yamaha Smart Pianist app is how Yamaha overcomes this navigation mess with a slick, easy to use interface on your iOS iPad device by using you color touch screen to easily switch to different instrument sounds, iPad N3X song score do song recording, play songs, transpose the key, see actual sheet music notation, play audio MP3 siles. and do many other things not available without that app.. 

Some of those features that are both on the piano and in the app you might NEVER want to do using the piano slide-out drawer where getting what you wants happens generally by coincidence and not necessarily because you navigated correctly. I guess you can tell that I really despise the control drawer and the way it is set up, especially because after 7 years N3X Drawer Yamaha left it the way it was on the previous model because after all...it costs less money to do it that way. But...the app solves those issues and I am very happy about that, especially because there are some very cool features in the N3X and also in the N1X that you otherwise would likely not use because it just takes too much work to figure out and use. 

However, if you don't have an iPad or don't really want to use that type of thing then you can use your iPhone to control the app as well...although that's too small to comfortably navigate those functions and features in my opinion. One more caveat to the app...Although it does work nicely on the N3X and N1X, it does not work with the N2 because the N2 is from the previous generation before this app was available and it is not backwards compatible. So for you AvantGrand N2 shoppers...you just need to be happy with that slide-out drawer on the N2 and mainly just play the piano sound (which is what many people do) and occasionally switch to one of the other sounds and maybe do a simple recording from the control box. But as I said, for some people what they mainly want to do is play piano so at that point using an app on your tablet device to control the piano is not necessary.

on-board internal sound system
The biggest major difference (although there are some others) among these pianos besides cabinet structure, is the on-board internal sound system. Each piano is different in that way and the sound system in each model was designed to give the player the spacial feeling of playing a real acoustic piano as much as possible within the size and structure that that model. 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. That has always been one of the main problems and downsides with digital pianos; N3X underside speakers spatially and environmentally that mostly 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 overall also satisfying, 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 quite subjective, especially if you happen to play at a higher skill level like I do, but I happen to like these instruments a lot and they are a joy to play for me. The sound system in the N3X includes a whopping 615 watts of total power which is powered by 15 separate amplifiers going through 12 speakers that are configured in 4 sets of 2 speakers each on the inside of the piano pointing upward and 4 larger speakers at 6.3" in size (for the bass response) under the piano pointing down. 

It's really quite the powerful speaker system for one piano. The N2 internal speaker system consists of 380 watts of total power which is powered by 12 separate amplifiers going through 12 speakers with 2 larger speakers being 6.3" in size...and that's a lot of power and speakers for an "upright style" cabinet. The N1X piano has 180 watts of total power which is powered by 6 separate 30 watt amplifiers going through 6 speakers with one larger speaker being 6.3" in size. 

So when it comes to speakers, amps, and power, all three models obviously do a very good job and the lid of the N2 and N3X opens up whereas there is an inset grill just behind the music rack in the N1X so the higher frequency piano sounds can more easily escape (sound escapement feature) upward and out so the player can hear it better and more distinctly even though there is no lid that opens up like the other 2 models.

yamaha N1X control panel
With regard to the other things these pianos can do when it comes to extra digital features, the AvantGrand pianos have some useful things, but they are relatively basic as compared to the lower priced "standard" Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos which have many more features than do these much higher priced AvantGrand "N" series hybrid pianos. There is no doubt that Yamaha was thinking that their AvantGrand pianos were designed to give you the best piano playing experience in a digital piano for any price and for Yamaha to include lots of "bells & whistles" were just not necessary and would only raise the price even further (maybe). So instead of giving you nice easier to use and read LCD display screens, adding hundreds of instrument sounds, and multi-track recording functions, Yamaha built these pianos to be obviously "minimalistic" in the way they look and they way they work. 

I think some people will like that and others will not...it just depends on your point of view on that subject and alos the fact that both the N2 and N3X have slide-out/in drawers that are hidden just under the piano keyboard when you want them to be and the N1X has the control buttons and small LED screen inserted into the left side block just to the left of the keyboard and is always exposed...but it's definitely minimal.

Picture of Yamaha AvantGrand hybrid digital piano
N2
If you're using a good set of headphones in the AvantGrand pianos, which is great to do, then all of the spacial speaker placement and cabinet resonation are not relevant and do not work at that point. Then what you have remaining is that great grand piano key action coupled with the proprietary piano sound chip coming through headphones. I will say that when listening through headphones on the N3X and N1X, the Yamaha CFX piano sound has a special "technology" for the headphone sound experience called "Binaural Sampling." Essentially this process makes the recorded acoustic piano sound that you're hearing come "alive" with great stereo separation, a wide audio range left to right, and just a more organic, natural piano sound. 

However, this Headphones Binaural experience is limited to the one Yamaha CFX piano sound and does not apply to the Bosendorfer piano samples or other piano sounds. So when listening through headphones I was very pleased with the stereo headphone listening experience when using the CFX piano sound, but not pleased at all when using the other piano sounds when the Binaural effect was on. It was as if something was noticeably missing...like the sound felt narrow and lacked realism...especially as compared to the CFX Binaural tone or just playing the piano without headphones and listening through the internal speaker system. 

I am not sure why Yamaha could not have a better headphone listening experience and being able to have that "binaural" sound when using those great Bosendorfer piano samples (and other piano tones), but for some reason that was not included...and that to me is a big disappointment...especially when paying nearly $10,000 and more for these models. Interestingly, the N2 piano sound through headphones including the main piano sound and the 2nd brighter piano sound were almost as good (but not quite) and full sounding as the Binaural CFX sound through the N1X and N3X using headphones. 

However, that binaural effect can be turned off in the N1X and N3X and when that happens then the stereo headphone sound changes and the Yamaha CFX piano sample doesn't sound as realistic and full but the other piano sampled sounds (Bosendorfer, etc) do sound better and more realistic than when the binaural effect is on. It sounds a bit strange but that's the way it works. 

So it's may be better to leave the CFX binural effect off when using headphones if you plan on switching between piano sounds a lot or else you can just leave the CFX binaural effect on if you will be using that specific piano sound most of the time and then turn off that effect through the Smart Pianist app while listening through headphones to the other piano sounds, which is the best way to do that.

N3X connectors
Connectivity on digital pianos can be very important for a lot of people because you may want to connect the piano to an external sound system for various reasons, especially if the piano is for a larger venue like a church, school, etc, or connect to a computer or other external device to use software programs for recording or writing music notation, or you may want to play music through the piano speaker system from your personal device digital music library (iTunes, etc). The AvantGrand N3X and N1X have 1/4" audio line outputs, stereo line input mini jack, USB output to external device, USB flashdrive N3X hp jacks input jack ect input for MIDI/Audio file storage, standard MIDI in/out connectors, and dual stereo headphone jacks. The N2 does not have the USB output connection to external device because on the first series that came out back some years ago, those Avantgrand models did not have a regular USB output so you had to reply on MIDI connectors on the piano to connect to a computer, iPad, etc and would need to purchase an option connector cable to convert the MIDI signals to USB so that you could more easily connect to a computer or tablet at that point. 

That was a bad move on the part of Yamaha to not include a standard USB connector in the piano...especially given the cost of these piano. So at least they went ahead and added the USB connection in the new "X" models. The N3X additionally has in &out audio XLR output connectors for pro live applications if you were to be running very long cables to connect to an external sound system such as in a very large venue, concert hall, etc. A few of the connectors are underneath the front left side of the piano and can be accessed from the front of the piano while the other connectors including the USB output are located towards the back of the piano towards the left side.

No Bluetooth sign
I feel it's also important to mention that there is no Bluetooth connectivity on any of the AvantGrand models so you cannot connect audio or MIDI wirelessley by way of Bluetooth being built into the piano. Although not everyone uses MIDI or audio with these pianos, some people do and using an external device like a computer or iPad is an example of when people might want a wireless connection so that you don't have to run a cable. Also on other (but not all) Yamaha digital pianos, Yamaha has added streaming audio that is able to be transmitted through a USB cable Yamaha BT01 Midi adapter when connected to the piano. That means that if you do need to connect your external device to your digital piano with a USB cable, you can hear any of the music generated in an app or program through your piano speaker system without the need for an additional audio cable. 

The AvantGrand models do not include this type of newer technology either. However, there is a so-called "work around" which means that you can purchase an optional Yamaha Bluetooth MIDI wireless connector that plugs into the MIDI ports of the piano and will allow the piano to transmit a MIDI signal wirelessley to an external device without the need of a cable Yamaha N1X, N2, N3X | REVIEW | Hybrid Digital Pianos | 2021 connection so you can use MIDI apps on your tablet such as a nice array of educational piano lesson curriculum or additional instrument sounds that are available in the app store. You can also buy an optional Bluetooth wireless "audio connector" and plug it into the stereo audio input of the N3X or N1X and then you can hear the audio/music from an external device (your digital music library, etc) come through the piano internal speaker system without need of connecting cables. 

The N2 does not have the single stereo mini input jack but instead has the older and less practical dual 1/4" input jacks, so you would need an additional adapter to connect to the N2 to use any optional Bluetooth wireless adapter. The bottom line is that you can get the job done when it comes to Bluetooth wireless connectivity...but you have to jump through some "hoops" to make it happen. 

Yamaha could have done a much better job in this area by providing state of the art technology built into the N3X and N1X since those are the new models...but they did not do that and no doubt because of the costs in doing so and retrofitting all of that into the cabinet and electronics that were already in there from the old models.

Yamaha N1X, N2, N3X | REVIEW | Hybrid Digital Pianos | 2021
The cabinets on these 3 AvantGrand models are definitely contemporary and attractive for their sizes. They are only available in a polished ebony finish which is by far the most popular color along with chrome hardware and cabinet accents on the body of these models and chrome casters and pedals on the N3X. Each model is unique with the least expensive N1X upright style model having a completely open bottom with no privacy panel or solid cabinet below the piano keyboard area like the N2 has. Some people will like this design and some people will not...just depends on your tastes in furniture and also how N3X caster much money you want to invest in one of these pianos. The least expensive N1X measures 58" wide x 39" high (not including music rack height) x 24" deep and weighs in at 258 lbs. The N2 measures 58" x 40 x 21" and weighs in at 313 lbs. 

The N3X grand shaped model measures 58" x 40" x 47" deep (just under 4 feet in depth) and weighs in at 439 lbs. A traditional baby grand piano averages about 5' in depth and can weigh nearly twice as much as the N3X so for a lot of people the N3X will be a good size because it can fit into more spaces. It was surprising to me that the N3X only had one height position for the lid which was "opened all the way" instead of 2 height positions normally found on a grand piano which are "full height" position and also 1/2 height lid position for a lower profile appearance. 

Yamaha N1X, N2, N3X | REVIEW | Hybrid Digital Pianos | 2021The N3X lid can be lowered to a "closed" position as all regular acoustic grand pianos can do, but that flat lid position does noticeably muffle the sound quite a bit because it covers up most of the speakers although you can still hear it...it's just muffled and not as clear. When it comes to traditional heights of acoustic upright pianos, the height is generally about 48" tall and the height of a more basic shorter acoustic console piano averages about 42" tall, so the height measurement of the N1X and N2 cabinet is below that of an acoustic upright or console piano. 

However, when you have the music rack on the N1X and N2 in the up position to support sheet music, then you add extra height to the piano in that way if you measure from the floor to the top of the music rack. But it is only the music rack at the front of the piano that gives it this extra height. Otherwise, the cabinet measurements are for the actual cabinet itself. All 3 models have a "slow-close" key cover (fallboard) so that when you close the lid over the keys the cover comes down very slowly so that it will not crash down on fingers by mistake which was a problem with regular acoustic piano key covers some years ago. The cabinet design of the N3X is very different as compared to a normal acoustic grand yamaha N2 digital piano side view piano because of the extra contemporary geometric design that Yamaha has used for this cabinet and its noticeable at the back of the piano as well as the front and interior of the piano with its distinctive interior color and design where an acoustic grand piano soundboard would normally be. 

You will either really like the cabinet design and "interior design" (and color) of the N3X or you won't...it's usually one way or the other. The same is true with the N1X and N2...they are definitely not traditional in their appearance and for a lot of people that's a good thing when it comes to digital pianos these days. I personally like the N2 cabinet design and appearance as well as the big piano sound that it puts out. But I do still run into a number of people who want a completely traditional look when it comes to piano cabinets and if that's you, then you may not buy any of these AvantGrand models simply because of cabinet and not because of how they perform. Cabinets are always quite subjective when it comes to getting something you you personally like and when you are in this price range then it needs to be a careful consideration.

Yamaha N1X, N2, N3X | REVIEW | Hybrid Digital Pianos | 2021
To sum up my experience with the AvantGrands, I really do enjoy playing them with those authentic Yamaha acoustic grand piano key actions minus a few parts including dampers/damper rail, felt hammers, etc, because there are no strings and therefore you don't need those parts in the key actions. Knowing that you can turn down the volume in these pianos with a volume control and also use headphones for private practice are big reasons why people buy this series of pianos along with never having to tune the piano. Certainly being able to connect the piano to an external device with apps or software for creating music notation or yamaha N1X digital piano utilizing special multitrack recording features and educational curriculum are also good reasons to own a hybrid digital piano such as an AvantGrand over a traditional piano. 

The impressive speaker systems in these models do put out some convincing volume & sound that will fill up a big room and make them sound like they are 3 times their size, although the N2 and N3X go beyond what the N1X does in that way. But, for its size the N1X does sound impressive in its attractive cabinet. Also, the fact is that all three models will give you the same grand piano key action playing experience and the N1X will give you the same great piano sound chip as the N3X does, especially if using a good set of stereo headphones because then the internal speaker system doesn't matter, it's all going through headphones which makes the playing experience on the less expensive N1X the same as the N3X grand. 

Yamaha AvantGrand fallboard logo
There are also some additional functions and features of the AvantGrand series of pianos that I have not covered in this review because they are secondary in my opinion to the info I have provided here, so there definitely is even more that you can do with these pianos...but overall I have discussed the things that are most important to know in making an educated buying decision in this higher price range, especially is you are comparing them to regular acoustic pianos or other digital pianos. 

Whether you are at a very advanced piano playing skill level (professional, etc) or even a beginner, in my opinion, if you have the disposable income and like what these pianos do and how they will work for you and your musical needs, then buy one, enjoy, and make beautiful music!

If you want more info on these and other pianos and LOWER PRICES than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,
Thanks for the review, really helpful.
One remark though, according to my info there is a USB output connection on all avantgrand piano's.

Kees

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, there is not a USB output connector on the AvantGrands. There is a USB input connector that allows a USB flash drive to be plugged into the pianos for storage of info, but not an output connector to a computer. MIDI cables must be used for that including downloading the proper MIDI drivers so that it works properly. As I mentioned in the review and in other words, Yamaha has a way to go when it comes to control panel and USB implementation on these pianos. The control panel is very weak at accessing & displaying info in an intelligent way (no multi-character LCD interface screen), and no USB "plug & play" output to computer. What was Yamaha thinking?! I can get all that on a Casio digital piano under $1000! Just because Yamaha has developed a great playing, great sounding digital piano does not mean they should have skimped on these features. For that kind of money, I want the cake AND the frosting on the cake too.

Anonymous said...

Tim, they obviously didn't make it for customers like yourself. You're projecting quite a bit there. The Casios previas are loaded with features 90% of us don't use. The simplicity of the Avant Grande is as it should be. Finally, what is it that you want to do with an Avant Grande with a USB out put that you cn't do with Midi in/out?

Unknown said...

The AvantGrands are very unique and special pianos. They will absolutely appeal to some people for what they are and not for what they are not. That is understandable. However, I predict in not many years from now, the AvantGrands will be updated to include some of things I mentioned in my review as well as new features I did not. When the newer AvantGrands come out on the market some day, this will cause these current models to depreciate in a very big way, in my opinion. If a person doesn't care about heavy depreciation and a big loss of money on the original investment of an AvantGrand now, then that's OK. At the end of the day, it's all about the playing experience and one's enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

Tim,
I think your comment on leaving these particular avantgrands in the digital dust in 5-6 years is a nonsense. GrandTouch was how long on the market 10-15 years and still selling. Avantgrands with this great authentic action and sensors will last even longer. Speakers can be improved of course and sampling which will be replaced rather by modeling but it won't be so ground braking anymore.

St.G said...

I hate to say, I do agree with Mr. Praskins. I am 30, and the N3 is exactly everything I want, with the glaring exception of ONE thing: connectivity. For the most part, I will very much enjoy this piece as it stands. However, being all "hip" and "connected" and such, the ability to record and play back through an iPad or laptop seems like a small thing to include when you've come this far in building this digital piano. I can tell you that if I bought the N3 and the N4 comes out with that being the small yet big functional change... it would be tough for me to swallow.

It doesn't need to tell Facebook I opened the deck lid, but the ability to capture what I'm doing into Logic seems like a basic necessity in a digital piano.

Unknown said...

That's what they said about the computer and then came the iPad, a huge game changer. Technology will always improve things and make prior technology obsolete because few people will want them as compared to new and vastly improved models. In 10 years I believe the digital pianos we have now at any price range will be nearly worthless

Anonymous said...

so do I wait forever to buy a piano so the technology will be cutting edge?...I don't think so Tim. At some point you buy what you like and in most circumstances you will get good use out of the technology for many years....you review is biased and your article sounds like a cheap insurance salesman.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comments. Unlike cell phones, iPads, TV's, laptops, camera's, and other lower priced technology which people replace constantly, people generally keep their high priced digital pianos for years because they generally cannot afford not to. In that case I always recommend that you'd better be very happy with what your getting for a digital piano in the high price range (over $7000) because you'll probably be living with it for a very long time. The AvantGrand series is missing a number of very useful and common digital features found on nearly all other higher priced digital pianos. Yamaha may want people to believe (as would other other brands no doubt) that they do not need any of that other technology. The AvantGrand series is all about key action, piano sound quality, and cabinet. While these pianos do excel in those areas, their lack of other digital technology (including more polyphony) is a big negative for me. The bigger they are in terms of price, the harder they eventually will fall in terms of resale value and desirability as new things come out to replace them. If you can afford the current AvantGrand pianos and can be happy for many years to come and won't get extremely jealous of newer and better digital piano technology coming in the near future which will rapidly depreciate the resale value in current models, then the Yamaha AvantGrand series will be perfect for you and anyone else in the same position. You are right, I am biased when it comes to digital pianos like these in any brand in the higher price range. A cheap insurance salesman?...I have never sold insurance and I have not sold Yamaha AvantGrands because I may feel guilty in doing so based on my personal feelings about high priced digital pianos.

Arash said...

I came very close to buying an N2. I actually walked into the store aiming to buy a CVP 605, mostly in order to use its "Piano Room" feature. However, when I played the N2, the touch and the sound made the purist/pianist in me yearn for this great piano and I almost wrote the check. The deal breaker, however, was the fact that the N2 does not have the "USB WAV/MP3 Recording" capability - present in many other Yamaha pianos, and I do want to record my pieces with high quality, directly into a WAV file.

Tim, since you are very well versed with these digital and hybrid pianos, can you kindly help me with two questions? First, are you aware of a new version of AvantGrand that does provide USB WAV Recording functionality? Secondly, I think the piano sampling technology is different between Clavinovas (RGE - Real Grand Expression) and the AvantGrands (Spatial Acoustic Sampling + TRS ( Tactile Response System)). Do you have any information or opinion about how these are different, and which technology produces better and more real piano sound and feel?

Thank you :)
Arash

Anonymous said...

I own an N3. I can play Liszt on it. I can play Rachmaninoff on it. I have never been able to do that with any other electronic keyboard. I've tried.

True, when listening to it through it's speakers one knows immediately that it is not an acoustic instrument,--but I find I FORGET
this and become engaged in the music.

I also suspect that, in a big enough room, or hall, the magic of the spatial acoustic modeling engineered into this instrument would minimize the difference between the N3 and an acoustic grand as the sound moves through the room.

I live in an apartment. I gave a lesson this evening, with headphones.
I paid 13K for mine in 2011.

I don't compare this to other keyboards. I compare it to other acoustic grand pianos.
And it does quite well thank you. Kevin, Madison, Wisconsin

Anonymous said...

Good Morning,
I ordered my Yamaha Avant Grand N3 this week. I have owned 19 top digital stage pianos in the past 30 years. Two of my favorite instruments are my mid 1990s Kurzweil K 2500 along with my Roland RD 700 GX. There are always new models and companies bringing out new products. All of my keyboards however sound as good today as the day I purchased them!! My wife wanted me to purchase a grand piano for the living room in our home. She is tired of my keyboards comding up from the studios and sitting in our living room with cords everywhere! My room just is not condusive to an accoustic piano due to fact that it will be sitting over top of an heating event and next to large glass sliding doors! The thought of having a real grand piano action, incredible piano sound, in a beautiful grand piano style cabinet is what I am looking for and I have not found any other product that accomplishes this. Finally, I may mount my rack mount Roland Integra Sound Module to the bottom of the piano and MIDI this thing to the Avant Grand giving me an incredible library of additional sounds to complement the Avant Grand Piano sample! I can not wait for my new piano to show up!! DP

Anonymous said...

I am looking at an N3 vs a GB1K for my daughter who is just starting. Price is close.
What do you recommend Tim?
Thank you for your time in writing the detailed responses.

michael said...

I have a N1. The last year I've been using it with Pianoteq-it marries this fantastic instrument with up to date modeled sounds. Its magical.

Anonymous said...

How do you guys connect this with external piano sounds such as Pianoteq? And does it actually have output such as XLR jacks for house PA systems ? Thanks.

Unknown said...

When do you predict the newer model will come out?

Anonymous said...

N1, n2, n3, excellent key action, nice cabinet and...All other is average. Sorry to say that, but it is. For that kind of money, the sound was nothing to impress. This is the reason way lots of owners of this piano, connect PC and piano VST. So, huge money only for action ? Not for me, there is Kawai VPC1 with piano VST, the best combination overall for home playing with fraction of the price.

Unknown said...

Would like to see your comments and a comparison of the Yamaha N2 to the Casio GP500.

Anonymous said...

Hello AZPianoNews,

There is this new AvantGrand N3X that is now in 2017 available. If you could do a review on it and compare it to your experience with the N1, N2, and N3, it would be really interesting to get your take on this new Yamaha AvantGrand N3X.
Thanks.

Tim Praskins - AZ Piano Reviews said...

someday in the future I will do that...but not ready yet.

Anonymous said...

I just played the N2 for 2 hours today and the Casio HP 500 last week. As a piano technician of 40 years (which I believe makes me a bit more of an expert in this area), I can sum it up in two words. "No comparison". While it was a pleasant playing experience, the highly touted action of the Casio lacked even a hint of escapement/let off (even though it has it). The Casio attempts (poorly) to replicate a fine grand piano action. The N2, in contrast, IS a fine grand piano action. The Casio piano samples were lifeless at best, and at full volume the weak sound system barely filled the room. The Yamaha's sample quality and power, on the other hand, left me with a feeling of wonderment. As old as the AvantGrand technology is (2009 I believe), it still surpasses everything out there, IF a premium piano playing experience is your prime directive. It is a spectacular instrument which, to date, is un-equalled in this industry. Yes, there are others that are more "feature-rich" and even I admit it would be nice, at the very least, to have a USB connection for my computer DAW. But at the beginning and end of the day, if you're goal is to find a digtal instrument that offers the best, most realistic piano playing experience, you'll be glad you spent the extra $$$ on the N2. Honestly, I walked away from the Casio feeling embarrassed for them. I hope they do better with their next generation offering. Lastly, look at the street prices of $3500 for the Casio and $9500 for the N2. That alone should tell you that a vast difference can/should be expected. I should note that I also played the new Roland LX17 as well as several other high end digital's side by side with the N2. I'll end with the same 2-word conclusion. NO COMPARISON. So if you can somehow afford the N2, just buy it. And if you're like me and you can't afford it, find a way and buy it anyway. I did :)

Tim Praskins - AZ Piano Reviews said...

You are entitled to your opinion and what you say is mostly true. However, the Yamaha N2 should be be MUCH better as it's well over twice the price of the Casio. That's like saying a Lexus is no good as compared to a Mercedes even though the Mercedes is so much more money. There is a reason why an item/product that plays or performs better IS better and therefore costs substantially more money...your argument and comments are academic and definitely not surprising. The Yamaha is a great instrument but spending more than twice the money on it as compared to the Casio GP500 is not possible for most people looking for a good digital piano. I hear from Casio GP500 owners all the time telling me how much they love playing that model and at the end of the day...that's all that counts...personal enjoyment...and that's where your argument/comments misses the mark. You are so focused on how the instrument performs from your experiences that you fail to see that most people shopping for a good playing experience (for their needs) just don't care. Just for the record, overall I agree with your comments about comparative authenticity and performance and that the N2 is a big upgrade...but again it's irrelevant...the N2 is in the stratosphere of price range so it BETTER be BETTER than anything else out there:). You say "find a way to buy it,"...easier said than done for most people. That's like saying "find a way to buy that Mercedes otherwise you won't be happy with any vehicle below that"...a ridiculous statement at best. As for "street price"...I don't know what street you live on but those are NOT the street prices that are going on for most shoppers in their local markets. When it comes to what someone likes and what they can be happy with...it's a big world with a lot of people in it and mostly people can be very happy with many different types and price ranges of digital pianos.

Unknown said...

Most people purchase digital pianos with an eye on avoiding the need for tuning, but any piano technician will tell you that there is a lot more to maintaining a (grand) piano than tuning. Do these instruments require the same regulation as their acoustic counterparts?

Ernesto said...

I agree with Tom. I want an AvantGrand N3, I can pay for it, but I'm turned off by the lack of an output USB. I find this inexplicable, like a snobbish disregard for something so obviously convenient because the instrument is ABOVE some cheap digital features that Chopin didn't have on his piano. Ah, but the new N3X has such USB output! And some new features too. But is the increased cost of the N3X by many thousands of dollars justified by some additions (in reality corrections to previous omissions) that should not cost more than a few hundred dollars, if at all, in these days of inexpensive digital hardware? And why isn't Yamaha coming up with an update kit to add just the output USB to their older N3 for a low price? I plan to buy a moderately priced digital piano to have the convenience to play with earphones, while I will enjoy a real grand action on my 6 feet Mason & Hamlin, which is too loud to play at night.

Unknown said...

I have a Casio GP 500 at my apartment which I purchased in December 2016. I was looking to find a Piano Gallery to try Yamaha Digital Hybrid Pianos like Avantgrand and CLP585. I came across this piano gallery in Dallas that had Casio GP500 plus an N1 sitting in the same room for comparisons. I got a good deal on Casio and salesman didn’t really let me play much with Avantgrand as he distracted me with GP500. As I have been shifting from being a Keyboardist to a Pianist, I can tell you Casio is a fantastic piece of artwork. But I can tell you this: It is nothing close to N1 and N2, N3x, and N1X in terms of action. As Tim "the writer" mentioned that if you are looking for features then other options are available. N2 and N3 series have TRS action which is thrilling and beautiful with three levels to adjust (selling point for N2). For some reasons, they have reduced TRS effects in N3X model compared to N2 and N3. N1 series don’t have TRS action which is a bummer. However, newer N1X has VRM (Virtual resonance Modeling) feature which gives you some feeling of vibration like TRS in N2 and N3X Models. N1X is a great instrument as it has Yamaha CFX, Yamaha Grand , Bosendorfer Imperial and Bosendorfer grand Piano voices, a total of 15 voices. The X series meaning N1X, N3X, and NU1X have capabilities to connect to USB bu Ipad and use Smart Pianist App by Yamaha plus Binaurial CFX headphone listening ecperience; I cannot tell the difference. Keytops are not as great in N1X as they are in N2 but they are better than anything else. In summary: I enjoy my GP500 a lot and I have connected with it like a soul mate. I shall think twice to buy any higher option as I already feel I am burnt with the first purchase because it has no trade in value unless you go to your original Piano gallery again. I have learned to enjoy GP500 as I get tired of one sound I can switch to another song IE a mellow or Bright Piano. If I want to or Layer it with string or any other instrument I can and I can then record on USB and enhance it. I am not sure I can give all that up right now just for action considering what I paid was a steal deal and GP 500 is a monster in its own category. You don’t have to go far to compare actions on these Pianos. Any acoustic upright or even 500 dollars Acrosonic/ Everett spinet would beat GP 500 key action in their bad day. I cannot ever say that about Avantgrand. It was hard to find any key action in the entire Yamaha Gallery that can beat that superior feeling of playing with Avantgrand. The entire purchase has nothing to do with Disposable income I fully disagree.

Sausage said...

FYI according to the N1X manual it is has both a host USB port (square) and a device USB port (rectangle). The host port allows you to connect direct to an ipad so midi can be sent and received (eg. to/from Garage Band) and audio received back from the ipad (eg. from Garage band) and played via the N1X speakers without requiring a separate audio cable. The device USB port allows a memory stick to be attached for song recording. So the USB implementation is pretty good.

Andy said...

The Kawai Novus 10 is a superior instrument to the equivalent Yamaha. It has a more forgiving action and it has full connectivity (Bluetooth, USB etc)