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#3185427 01/15/22 11:46 AM
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Hi there.

I live in an apartment, and I've been playing on a Yamaha Clavinova for four years now. It's been a great instrument, but I feel I'm ready for an upgrade. The main reason being that I find the touch of my digital is significantly different from that of an acoustic, and the work I do on it doesn't always translate to playing on a real piano.

For that reason, I'm considering a hybrid piano (an acoustic piano with a silent system built in). I live in an old apartment building, so I'd only very rarely be able to play without headphones. (I've run this by my landlord, and she doesn't want me playing an acoustic in the unit). I'm currently on a waitlist for a Yamaha N1X from their AvantGrand lineup. This instrument has wooden keys and hammers, but uses digital sensors instead of strings to produce the sound. Are there any N1X owners out there who can shed some insight on what their experience with the instrument has been?

I'm also considering hybrid acoustic upright pianos, either a Kawai or a Yamaha. If I'm going to be playing with headphones for the vast majority of the time, what would be the best option if my main concern is purchasing an instrument that has the same feel as a real acoustic piano?

Thank you.

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There are quite a few AG owners here, including N1(X), N2, N3(X), NU1(X), also the equivalent from Kawai NV5(S), NV10(S), and so lots of threads about them and their experiences. You could start your browsing here or use search.

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Hi,
If you have the budget and neighbours aren't an issue - you should also consider a Yamaha TransAcoustic: https://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/transacoustic/ta2/index.html
If You are not adamant about Yamaha being you only manufacture then Kawai also gives you such opportunities: https://kawaius.com/product/k-300-aures-2/
both those technologies allows to use piano soundboard as a speaker for digital sound so you don't lose any of digital features. - it's quite remarkable, but expensive solution.

Cheers,
Dariusz

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Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
There are quite a few AG owners here, including N1(X), N2, N3(X), NU1(X), also the equivalent from Kawai NV5(S), NV10(S), and so lots of threads about them and their experiences. You could start your browsing here or use search.

Thanks, I'll take a look!

Last edited by skpiano45; 01/15/22 04:49 PM.
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Very satisfied with my transacoustic Yamaha c3xta2. I highly recommend it over the avantgrand series since it is an acoustic with the digital capabilities.

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AvantGrand and NV series IS NOT what you are looking for.

What you need to look for is Yamaha TA (transacoustic) and Kawai also offers such upright pianos. Bechstein offsrs Vario system to all of their pianos for additional costs of approx. 2500Eur.

Despite fancy name N1X is still normal digital piano.

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Originally Posted by maucycy
ADespite fancy name N1X is still normal digital piano.

It is a hybrid piano.

But "hybrid piano" doesn't mean "an acoustic piano with a silent system built in" like OP suggested in the initial post.

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Kawai Aures are their hybrids

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Kawai Aures are their silent pianos with soundboard transducers.

Of course it's up to Kawai what they call "hybrid".

On the global website (https://www.kawai-global.com/product/c/hybridpianos/) the "Hybrid" product category includes:
- Novus
- Anytime
- Aures

In one meaning of "hybrid" only the Novus is the hybrid as it lacks the acoustic option completely.

In some other meaning of "hybrid" the Anytime and Aures are hybrid as they have some digital elements too in addition to being actual acoustic pianos. (Anytime needs headphones or external speakers for the digital sounds and Aures has the soundboard transducers for that.)

The exact definition of "hybrid" isn't as important as OP's requirements i.e. should there be a fully acoustic playing mode available?

At least there apparently should be a real (or slighty adapted) acoustic piano action inside. The AvantGrand and Novus do have that as of course do the "silent pianos" and the "other hybrids".

It's somewhat of a mess with the terminology. 😀

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I also live in an old apartment.
I don't want to encourage neighbors to play loud hip-hop crazy, so I don't play loud music.
Every month or two I'll allow myself an hour or so of playing with speakers when I think most of the neighbors are out; the rest of the time is strictly headphones.

I've upgraded through a number of keyboards over the years, and some years ago bought an Avant Grand N3 hybrid. With my living situation, I've resigned myself to not experiencing a "live piano" environment. So I decided to focus on the most realistic action I could find, and the N3 was what I chose.

But... because it's more realistic and has more moving parts than standard keyboards, it makes more mechanical click noise. I had a downstairs neighbor (since moved out) who made comments about my clicking. I went and bought a set of Piattino caster cups to help decouple the sound, but haven't asked my current neighbors how much improvement they make. Because of the mechanical sounds and the cardboard floor and walls I don't play after 10 at night.

A life of headphones is less than ideal, but fortunately VSTs offer some variety. And my ocean view makes up for a lot cool


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An ocean view and an N3, you say; well, I’d say that’s a pretty nice compromise (neighbors considered).

About the “clicking”:

Clicking is quieter than clacking, so my assumption is that the casters probably took care of the issue; of course, it could always be that your current neighbor(s) are more tolerant of the clicking, but it wouldn’t hurt to add a thick carpet/rug, if you have not done so.

On the subject of ‘not experiencing a live piano’, I take issue with this; why? Because I’m tired of this nonsense that only an acoustic is ‘alive’; well, guess what, the N3 is also alive, and unlike an acoustic, your N3 can be whatever you want it to be: a Steinway, Kawai, a Bosendorfer; an upright, concert grand, a harpsichord; an organ, a…..well, you get the point!

No matter how good an acoustic “Fazioli” might be, it’ll always be the same old and tired -Fazioli- piano (day-in, day-out); and this ‘liveliness’ people talk about is nothing but the piano going out of tune and slowly dying right in front of you. The digital has more ‘life’ in it than an acoustic (it ages better; needs less-to-no maintenance; no tuning, etc.); and, like a cat, the digital has many lives (a spinet, clavichord, a CP-80).

P.S.

The N3 is considered “old” by digital standards, yet, as you imply, adding a VST makes it young, again. Now, with all the money you saved by buying a hybrid instead of an overpriced acoustic, you will be able to upgrade (if so desired) to the upcoming NV-20S and still have money left in your pocket. How is that not a win, win, win!

IMHO!

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Not to take issue with your H O, Peter, but recall that the original topic is based on the challenges faced by those of us who live in a world of headphones.

I didn't play my N3 out loud on speakers more than 6 times during 2021.

I did spend an hour on an acoustic Kawaii grand last summer - the first acoustic I had played in at least 5 years. And its lid was down. The difference between the N3's crisp binaural headphone sound and the muffled complex resonances of the lid-down grand were substantial, and a few times I became disoriented because although I was playing the correct notes the "sound" was unfamiliar.

I've since been playing with more VSTs so as not to become fixated on one sonic environment. Including VSTs that I don't like, just to be comfortable with the different sounds.

There's also the whole-body vibe. I've in the past played a well-kept grand and relished the sonic wash - a much different visceral sensation from that of headphones.

Your other points as to not going out of tune and having the options of different VST voices are all pluses I've enjoyed. I would just enjoy having more opportunities to leave aside the headphones. But that's my trade-off for where I live.

(And *I* am old and tired... an old-and-tired Fazioli would feel right at home in my company! smile )

IMHO


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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
It's somewhat of a mess with the terminology. 😀

Which you have happily made slightly worse . . . smile


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Originally Posted by JaneF
(And *I* am old and tired...an old-and-tired Fazioli would feel right at home in my company! smile )

IMHO
wink

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I am very happy with my N1X… the feeling is perfect. However, I prefer to use it with VSL virtual pianos : their sound and resonance seem more real, but the built-in samples are not so bad.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 01/18/22 03:26 PM.

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