REVIEW COMPARISON - Yamaha CLP675 vs CLP685 Digital Pianos - New

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🎹 UPDATED COMPARISON REVIEW -  May 15, 2018 - Yamaha Clavinova CLP675 vs CLP685 - Recommended - Yamaha has recently replaced their older CLP500 series with the new CLP600 series which includes the CLP625, CLP635, CLP645, CLP665GP, CLP675, and CLP685. I have already done reviews on the CLP625, CLP635, CLP645, and CLP665GP so this one concentrates on the higher priced CLP675 and CLP685. 


Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
CLP675 satin black
The CLP675 is offered in rosewood, satin black, and dark walnut for $4699US store discount price with a polished ebony version at $5299US store discount price, and the CLP685 is offered in satin black for $5799US store discount price with a polished ebony version at $6599US store discount price and a polished white version at $7599US store discount price. The primary reason for me talking about these two models together in one review is because of the new GrandTouch key action that Yamaha has developed and that both of these models share, whereas none of the other Clavinova models have this new key action. Also both the CLP675 and CLP685 have much more powerful internal speaker systems than the other models. By the way, adding $1000 to the price of a polished black one just to get polished white color is crazy in my opinion, but I suppose if you want the CLP685 bad enough and also want it in polished white, then that's the price you have to pay to play...so to speak:).

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
CLP685 polished ebony
As far as key action goes in these two models, without a doubt this portion of any piano is the most important part of any piano playing experience. There are a variety of different piano key actions in both acoustic and digital pianos including all the major brands and they all claim to have this "secret sauce" as I call it when it comes to producing what they think is a great key action that can handle all of a player's musical needs and desires for an expressive keyboard playing experience. Some of them actually are great key actions and very expressive to play and others aren't so great regardless of what they otherwise claim in their marketing and promotion. Most people would expect that the more money you pay for a piano instrument, the better and more responsive the key action will be therefore producing an even greater amount of playing enjoyment, but unfortunately that is not necessarily true and is the case in my opinion concerning the CLP675.

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
Although the CLP675 and CLP685 use the same Grandtouch keys, the CLP685 is different because those keys have counterweights inside of them which creates a noticeably more balanced, more responsive key action response as compared to the CLP675. On the lower priced Yamaha CLP645 it has a different key action called Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano pictureNWX which offers wood keys and was the key action used on the previous 500 series model CLP575 and CLP585 (with key counter-weights), so I was looking forward to playing and enjoying the new GrandTouch wood key action in the new CLP675 and CLP685. But what I found specifically on the CLP675 was the key action was overly heavy and stiff in my opinion especially when playing more lightly and softly and the keys just took too much finger pressure to press down. In other words, the static touch weight of the keys (amount of downward pressure it takes for the fingers to press down the keys) was overly heavy in the CLP675. Also, the pressure and resistance of the keys returning to resting position (going up) felt too resistant as well. So when I would try to play lightly the keys just did not want to go down easily and an unusual amount of finger pressure was needed to press the keys down as compared to the NWX action in the previous models (CLP575 & CLP585) and currently used in the new CLP645. Beyond that, the new GrandTouch action on both the CLP675 and CLP685 is somewhat noisy. If you are playing with some energy and pressing the keys down with a bit of force, when the keys hit bottom they make a knocking/thumping sound with not much padding underneath especially when the master piano volume is set to lower levels. Also, when the keys come back up they are also a bit noisy and have a  louder key return. To me this can be distracting and in this price range I feel Yamaha could have done a better job in reducing key movement noise.

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
With regard to these key action issues that I experienced with the Grandtouch keys, I was really surprised because the lower priced NWX wood key action does not have key movement noise as compared to the CLP675 & CLP685. Now for someone who enjoys a stiffer key action and is not bothered by the noise the key action makes, then they may really enjoy playing the CLP675. The CLP685 counterbalanced key action does feel good to play and although there is more mass and weight under your fingers when playing the keys, the response is smooth and expressive and is a noticeable improvement over the CLP675 key action. For this reason alone I personally would get the CLP685 over the CLP675 if you can fit it into your budget. As far as key noise goes, it is true that real acoustic piano key actions do produce some noise when the keys are moving up & down, but acoustic pianos are always so loud that normally you don't hear the key action noise. But on digital pianos you can turn down the volume to play more quietly or plug in headphones for private practice and when you do either one of those things then that GrandTouch key noise on both models becomes more apparent and therefore can be distracting. Finally, when playing the GrandTouch action, because the keys had (what seemed to be) a reduced amount of padding under the keys as I previously mentioned, playing those keys was physically a  harsher playing experience and got to be somewhat uncomfortable on my fingertips after a while of playing because of the harder vibrations coming through the keys into my fingers. Yes, maybe I am a higher maintenance player but I just did not experience these kinds of things on other key actions such as the lower priced CLP645.

OK, now some people may think I am being dramatic here and/or making this stuff up considering how positive and glowing the Yamaha promotional videos and marketing claims are of this new key action. I have played top of the line Yamaha, Steinway, Bosendorfer, and other famous grand pianos and my experience on those grands with regard to key action was almost always good and very enjoyable to play with quick, relatively light and responsive keys. Regardless of everything Yamaha says this new GrandTouch key action has including a more stable key movement (which it does), or longer keys and more realistic fulcrum point so that the finger pressure needed for playing anywhere on the keys both black & white keys or front to back of key is more even like a grand piano (which I found to be true), the overall heaviness of the keys when pressing down on the CLP675 and the increased noise of both black and white keys going up & down (along with some fatigue I experienced in my fingers) to some degree counteracts the positive points of this key action. I do like the key action on the CLP685 but prefer the NWX key action that is currently in the lower priced CLP645 because the key action movement is quieter and and I do not experience any finger fatigue or unnecessary vibrations on that action. I recommend you play these pianos for yourself because perhaps you may like them a lot and will want to own one of them. Again, I do like the key action movement and response on the CLP685 very much and if it were not for the increased key noise and harshness of the keys hitting bottom when playing, I would have no complaints about the CLP685 key action at all and it would be my preferred key action of all the Clavinova models, but you would definitely need more dollars in your budget to own one.

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
So now on to the piano sound realism and other features. From here on in, all of the Yamaha Clavinova pianos models starting from the CLP635 share the identical piano sounds, the identical user control panel, and pretty much all the same digital features including reverb, individual sound and tone editing, but with the exception of the CLP685 having extra added instrument sounds including 49 proprietary instrument tones developed for the CLP685 along with 480 Yamaha standard XG Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture instruments. The Yamaha XG instruments is a library of lower quality instrument tones that Yamaha also has in a number of other keyboard products just to offer a large variety of almost every instrument sound you can imagine. However one of the biggest benefits to this XG library of instrument sounds is that they are compatible with playing General MIDI song files including song play formats by other digital piano manufacturers. So if you want to Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture find, buy, and download from the internet musically exciting MIDI song files from just about any composer or song you can think of , then you can put them on a USB flashdrive and have the CLP685 playback those songs. Then you can listen, sing along, or playalong with those songs for musical enjoyment, you can slow down the songs to more easily playalong and learn them, or transpose them to any key to suit your vocal range better or to modulate from a previous key, and none of the other Clavinova pianos can do this. The previous CLP585 also had this feature so it is not new but may be something a person might find useful and is one of the more fun features that any of the 600 series models offer. However, this same can of General MIDI song feature can be found on other digital piano brands that start at under $2000US including Yamaha, so you don't need to spend well over $5000 on the CLP685 to get it...assuming you want it that bad. *It is also good to know that both of these piano models have a large amount of built-in sound, recording, pedal, and function editing features that allows you to manipulate (customize) just about every digital feature on these pianos so that you can have more control over them in a way that satisfies your piano playing. If you want to know more about these helpful features then just take a look at the owners manual on-line and you'll see a huge list of these many features near the end of the owners manual.

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
With regard to the new Yamaha piano sound engine including recorded piano samples from the latest Yamaha Concert Grand and European Bosendorfer Concert Grand, I do like the new acoustic piano sound authenticity very much and they have greatly been improved from the previous models. I talk about this new piano sound in my CLP645/635 review so please read more about the new piano sound there.  Accessing these sounds and related functions in these new pianos from their side control panel is identical to the lower priced CLP635 and CLP645 pianos and the new control panel is much nicer and much easier to use as compared to the previous models CLP575 & CLP585. I have detailed my thoughts about the Clavinova 600 series piano sound, control panel, and other functions in my recent CLP 635/645 review so I recommend you read my comments there about the piano sound since the CLP675 and CLP685 are exactly the same as those pianos. Yamaha CLP635/645 Review.


Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
As far as pedaling goes on the CLP675 and CLP685, both of these pianos have the upgraded grand piano damper pedal feel as opposed to the upright or normal pedaling feel that is found on the CLP645 and below. Other digital piano companies have this "grand feel" feature as well (even down under the $2000US range) and what they do is make the resistance of the pedals to your foot pressure a bit lighter when you initially press the pedals down and then the pedal gradually get heavier or more resistant to your Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture foot pressure as you press it down further. This is a pretty cool feature and it does feel a bit different than the lower priced models and supposedly can help you develop a more realistic feel for grand piano pedaling, but how important this is in your overall piano playing experience on a digital piano is not really critical in my opinion. This is because ultimately the same right pedal sustain/decay result is the same regardless of the pedal pressure and fact is that real grand piano pedals and the pressure they exert on the right foot can be different from grand piano brand to another so they are not all the same. Some are heavier overall and some lighter, and yes, some adjustments can be made to that acoustic pedaling movement but as far as the CLP675 and CLP685 go, the pedaling is very nice and for some people the grand pedal feel on the right pedal (aka: GP response damper pedal) would be a benefit, but for most people playing at a recreational skill level just having a decent smooth pedal movement is all they really need which is what you would find on both the lower priced Yamaha CLP635 and CLP645.

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano pictureThe internal sound system in both of these new models are significantly louder and fuller than on the lower priced models. This will help when playing at softer volumes because the extra power helps to increase the richness of the sound when playing at lower volumes. However, I really don't think most people will ever use or need volume and sound quality much over 100 watts of power going through 4 amplifiers and 4 speakers in a vertical digital piano which is what you find on the lower priced CLP645. However, on the CLP675 the internal speaker system consists of a huge 210 watts of power going through 6 separate amplifiers and 6 speakers with part of system enclosed in a separate speaker box under the piano. The top CLP685 has a whopping 300 watts of power going through 6 amplifiers and 6 speakers with the main speaker cone being made from spruce wood pulp instead of the traditional paper, plastic, and kevlar materials found in most speaker cones in digital pianos and audio equipment. Since Yamaha has never used wood as a material in a digital piano speaker before as far as I know, the speaker durability, longevity, and overall sound reproduction ability & consistency is yet to be seen, although it likely will be durable.  Wood speaker cones have existed for many years in some hi-fi speaker equipment so I suspect it will be a good thing in the CLP685 and it does have a nice tone to it. It's also good to know and remember that regardless of which Clavinova piano model you choose (with the exception of the CLP625), the piano sound coming through stereo headphones is absolutely identical on all models because you are not relying on the internal speaker system for the sound you are hearing. So if for some reason you will mostly be listening to the piano through headphones, then getting a super huge and loud internal speaker system could be overkill for your needs, unless you just want to blast your windows out of your home or wake up your neighbors:)

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
CLP685 polished white
As for any other differences between the CLP675 and CLP685 go, the cabinet design is noticeably different with the CLP685, like it's predecessor the CLP585, being more contemporary, streamlined, and having a different look as well as the CLP685 being almost 3" taller and also about 30 lbs heavier than the CLP675, so it is more substantial. I do like the more upgraded cabinet of the CLP685 as compared to the CLP675. The CLP685 also has a unique slow-close folding key cover as opposed to the more traditional sliding key cover on the CLP675 like all the other CLP models have so I do like that feature very much on the CLP685. The CLP685 music rack works nicely and supports sheet music with its built-in sheet music holders in the music rack itself so that is a very nice touch in this new model over the previous one. Both pianos come with a nice matching padded bench and the Yamaha factory warranty is 5 years parts & labor.

Yamaha CLP675 & CLP685 piano picture
CLP675 with closed key cover
At the end of the day it's all about your personal piano playing experience and enjoyment and if either of these pianos will give that to you then I recommend you considering buying one because Yamaha certainly does produce some great music instruments including top notch acoustic pianos and I have played many of them for years. But I believe that, at least for me, I would definitely opt for the higher priced CLP685 over the CLP675 Clavinova primarily because it is simply better, has a much more responsive and quicker playing key action, and feels good in terms of weight and the way it moves under your fingers. The lower priced CLP645 model is also a good choice and one you should consider over the CLP675, especially if you prefer to be in a lower price range. The piano sound-chip and most other functions on the lower priced Clavinovas are identical to the higher top end CLP675 so Yamaha did a great job of giving the lower priced CLP645 most of the important features of the CLP675 while still offering a satisfying piano key action playing experience in my opinion. Be sure to also read my review of the CLP645 to learn all about the various digital features which these pianos share along with my thoughts on the grand piano sounds themselves in these new models.

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

5 comments:

  1. The heavy key action of the CLP 685 is the reason why I bought an old 585 with a noticably lighter action instead. And even the 585 has a heavier touch (around 62g) than a real grand piano like a Steinway (around 47g). I didn't measure the CLP 685 downweight, but I think I would be around 80g. If you want a downweight like at a real grand piano you have to choose Kawai.

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  2. We recently bought a CLP685.
    I wish I has seen this review before, we are inexperienced "pianists"!
    In the shop I did not notice that the keys require much more
    force then our old Petrof.
    It is more difficult to play softer phrases because of the relative
    high minimum key force. Indeed the keys are also unnecessary noisy
    for a digital piano.
    The pedals spring-load is also unnecessary high, en they are noisy too!,
    a plasic notch scratces in the metal frame. The pedals unit is a
    cheap construction with too much side play, the red felt is only there for the nice.
    We are disappointed with this piano,
    Yamaha should have build something better for this price.

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  3. I bought a clp-675 despite not having played it, primarily because it was offered to me at a little more than a 645 (which was my original aim)
    I was assured that the grand key action was superior on the 675, which it is I guess to an
    extent.

    It’s an absolutely fantastic piano but it’s heavy with unnecessary noise.
    I don’t want to pigeon hole the series but I will. In my opinion, the best in the 6 series are 685,645,675.
    If you’re a midranger like me, please go and play these pianos.


    The best analogy I can come up with, which is of course wholly subjective is that the clp-675 feels like a downgrade from the 685 and not an upgrade from the 645.

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  4. it's interesting that some people do shopping research AFTER they purchase a digital piano rather than before. It's risky in my opinion to trust a local or on-line store salesperson with what they are promising or assuring you of when it comes to buying a digital piano from them. I pointed out in this review concerning the CLP675 that the key action was extra firm (heavy) and also made unnecessarily loud key movement noise and my very experienced opinion concerning these models should be taken seriously before buying. Playing them in person can help but unless you have piano playing experience you may not recognize the shortcomings of the piano right away until after you buy it. Ultimately it's really no fun to play a piano of any type if your hands, fingers, and ears will not be enjoying the experience. A "good deal" is only a good deal if you like what you get. I wonder why the salesperson/store was so anxious to give you a "good price" on the CLP675? Maybe they knew it was just like you said and wanted to move it as fast as they could because they did not like it either? Regardless, I would try to get my money back (at least as much back as possible) rather than live with something you are not going to enthusiastically enjoy for the rest of your life.

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