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Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai (Read 11473 times)

Offline honzaes

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Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
« on: December 20, 2017, 03:02:12 PM »
Hi, I am considering hybrid piano with real key action. I feel too much difference between the Steinway I play during my lessons and the keyboard I own now, and also my teacher recommends me to get something more realistic (I have lovely Kawai VPC1, which may end up being my parents place practice instrument).

I would be happy to read any comments on Yamaha AvantGrands or Kawai NV10 Novus (not available at the moment, but some specification is out already). Also some experience about possible learning apps, which could be handy for pieces study. Thank you! And Merry Christmas to all pianists here!

Offline tinyhands

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 11:13:19 PM »
Hello if by hybrid do you mean an Acoustic piano with a ‘silent system’ that you can play on a digital setting with headphones?
I bought a Kawai K15 a few years ago with a silent system as I live in a small apartment and needed to practice at unsociable hours, and  I felt my digital piano wasn’t great for technique as I was playing harder pieces and needed the feel of an acoustic. It is good to have an acoustic but I will tell you the pros and cons of the model I bought.

Pros

Real acoustic piano
Can be played on digital with headphones for late night practice
Weighted keys, dynamics pedals
Small model and low in height

Cons

The model I have is only an ‘entry level ‘ piano, I paid more than the price of the acoustic only version to have the bonus of the silent system. ( maybe nearly a 1/3 of the price on top) - if I had only needed an acoustic only piano I could have afforded a better model.

When you put it on the digital setting it still sounds ‘digital’ but only after comparing it to the acoustic..and it’s just if I am being picky.

I was told It probably won’t retain its value if I was to sell it on different to a 100% acoustic (although not sure why)

It still needs tuned ( not really a con as you have to tune acoustics..but just something to bear in mind )

All in all..is it my dream piano...? no..I go to my teacher’s and her piano is warm and rich sounding ( but it’s also 3 times the price) however when friends hear me play they think it sounds lovely..( to the untrained ear)

However it serves a purpose and it is 100% better than the digital I used to have...as I said it is an acoustic. I can play at 6am in an apartment and no one can hear me.

For my budget and space issues it was a good buy I think.

Here is a link to the model...( without the silent system)

One think to note I did a bit of research, they are cheaper in Asia ..I’m in the UK and they are still quite new over here.most people go for a fully acoustic. I was also told by a few people Kawai silent pianos are much better than the Yamaha equivalent in the same price range.



Good luck.






Offline honzaes

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #2 on: December 22, 2017, 04:42:28 PM »
Hello and thank you! I was looking at silent piano options, but as I live in block of flats, I am slightly concerned about the sound of piano being too loud for neighbours. Also I would prefer to get silent grand in that case better than upright. But that may not be the case for the life setup I have now.

Otherwise I like Yamahas TransAcoustic pianos, especially when you can play digital through soundboard, and just turn volume down. But thats another story, and definitely not the consideration now.

My thinking was going towards Avant Grand series from Yamaha or Kawai new Novus hybrid piano - real key action, real keys, just packed in smaller case, and sound through digital sensors-speakers. I think sound is more than decent even in smallest of Yamahas - the N1, but what is important for me is the touch - all of them have proper grand action.

I am just piano enthusiast, no big ambition except of playing perfect Bach (enough for lifetime, no?:-)), but I do see strong difference between my Kawai VPC1 and Steinway grand + Yamaha U3 my teacher has. And it makes my playing different.

Merry Christmas to all! (and please feel free to continue in this topic:-))

Offline honzaes

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 05:37:10 PM »
Update: Today I tried Avant Grand N1, NU1x and Kawai CA 67 series piano with new sound engine (sympathetic resonance modelling etc..). Kawai is not comparable really because of the price tag and on first impression cheap cabinet finnishing, but the new touchscreen interface and sounds was the thing to try on it. Conclusions for now are:

- Novus by Kawai should be available at the end of January 18. New generation of Yamaha N1/N2 seems to be on the market not before September, maybe later.

- Avant Grand N1 sounds and touches as a real piano, simply I was forgetting it is digital instrument. Was very playfull, sensitive, despite the lack of functions and maybe obsolete sound samples (for some ears, not mine though..). Good connection to player really.

- I tried the new Kawai interface. Touchscreen itself on CA67 seems outdated hardware with not completely smooth resolution. But main thing was sound. Through headphones was unpleasant, artificial, metallic, and in same time was lacking life (just my opinion, I have same feeling with  Pianoteq for example, but not with Garritan CFX samples..). I tried other sounds too - Organ and Harpsichord. All sounded same unreal, fake. Organ I would even call horrible. Only lower range grand pianos were less unpleasant, slightly more open sounding. But all well bellow expectations, big disappointment here. If that will be same in Novus, then miracle for 9000 EUR is no go for my ears.

I may save few bucks then leaving bells and whistles behind, deciding for Yamaha N1 or N2, where I seem to be able to get decent discount, as they are both expected to be out of the market soon. But I still wait untill Novus will be playable somewhere, and will try it to make sure Kawai means those sounds seriously.



Offline keypeg

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 01:58:24 AM »
I have a Kawai CA97.  The reason I chose this piano is because the physical behaviour of the piano, for the sake of technique, and learning technique, were my topmost priorities.  That means how the keys moved and behaved, their balance and so forth, when using your hands; then a sound response that would do the right thing.   The movement and appropriate responsiveness of the pedal were important in the same manner. I cared less for a beautiful sound, since I'm using it to learn and grow, so that when I play any other piano I will have the needed technique.

My previous piano was a mid-line regular Yamaha dp.  I had developed a heavy and insensitive touch, because you had to press the keys almost all the way down before it would sound.  With the CA97 I relearned being able to press to different depths, resensitize my fingers and ultimately my ears.  Pedal technique had suffered terribly with the old piano, because I had to press down so much, let alone anything more subtle.  I am in the middle of relearning pedal in terms of physical actions of the foot.  I am learning to shade the sound. 

I am reading comments about interfaces (I actually don't have a touch screen and am not sure I'd want one), and the cabinet finish.  Yes, the cabinet is on the old fashioned side, though I could have gotten a glossy black model by paying a fair bit more.  But my priority was building technique, learning to play.  I went back and forth between an acoustic grand and this piano before making my decision, since they were on display in the same show room.

I had also looked at the equivalent hybrids in the Yamaha store.  The sound that the piano produced was a bit more impressive, but what I could do ---- the responsiveness of the keys; the balance - i.e. the things I was looking for --- simply was not there to at all the same degree.  I care less about what the piano can do in terms of its impressive sound, than I care for what I can do with the piano, and what I can learn to do with the piano.  I would be a totally happy camper if the quality of sound that I heard that day on the Yamaha could be married to the quality of function of the Kawai.  That said, there is never a perfect instrument.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 02:03:03 AM »
Adding: at the time (end of 2016) I also got to explore a hybrid of the type that has strings (i.e. acoustic) but you can play silently with ear phones and then hear an artificial voice as per dp.  I did not like the experience.  I don't know which piano I played, and there was only one such in the store.  The acoustic piano was not as good as the grand pianos I had played in the store to get a feel.  When it was on silent dp mode, I didn't get the responsiveness in sound that I expected, and what I produced in silent mode was so far removed from what I'd get when I switched to acoustic that it confused my ears, my hands, and my mind.  I was afraid it would mess me up, and it felt uncomfortable.  That said, there may be better hybrids of the acoustic type, and I did not spend much time with that one.

Offline outin

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 09:15:40 AM »
Adding: at the time (end of 2016) I also got to explore a hybrid of the type that has strings (i.e. acoustic) but you can play silently with ear phones and then hear an artificial voice as per dp.  I did not like the experience.  I don't know which piano I played, and there was only one such in the store.  The acoustic piano was not as good as the grand pianos I had played in the store to get a feel.  When it was on silent dp mode, I didn't get the responsiveness in sound that I expected, and what I produced in silent mode was so far removed from what I'd get when I switched to acoustic that it confused my ears, my hands, and my mind.  I was afraid it would mess me up, and it felt uncomfortable.  That said, there may be better hybrids of the acoustic type, and I did not spend much time with that one.
I am not surprised. Was it an upright?

There is a fundamental problem with regulating an upright with the mechanical silent bar added. I own a piano like that and I have also tried many in piano shops to find out if the issues with mine are unique. And so far I have not met any uprights with this system to feel "normal" and good to play even in the acoustic mode. My tech has done what he can, but he cannot set the hammers any closer to the strings because of the bar and the responsivenes and dynamic qualities of the piano aren't what I would expect from a rather expensive model of a good brand.

I haven't had the opportunity to try out grands with the same system, but I have read that this issue only affects uprights due to the hammer placement.

But I must say that some other people very much like my piano and do not think there's anything wrong with the touch. I think it depends on what kind of music you play and what you focus on in your studies. I too find the touch to be very important. And I think my playing improved immensely after I got another acoustic piano to practice on. I only use the upright now when it's impossible to play without headphones. I feel sorry for the piano though, it is tuned regularly and hardly ever played on the acoustic mode. I think I should just find it a better home...

Offline keypeg

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #7 on: January 06, 2018, 06:26:53 AM »
It might have been an upright at that, but I really don't remember. What you are relating makes sense.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #8 on: January 06, 2018, 01:56:45 PM »
My understanding of the hybrid pianos out there these days is different from what people are explaining here. Unless something has changed ( could be, i'm not fully up to date) since I first investigated this a year or two ago, it's not a stringed instrument with silent system but a digital system with speakers playing against a real sound board. So it's a real DP but the sound board gives you the sound. Where in a normal DP the speakers emit sound directly into the room. The sound is supposed to be more organic and real. The actions on these pianos are grand like in nature vs upright and would not change with headphones on .
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 11:58:31 PM »
Hybrid refers to some kind of crossover between two things, and originally it referred to crosses between animals and plants, such as the mule for animals.  So various "hybrid" piano types have started to emerge.   The stringed acoustic piano that can also become a silent piano but with some kind of digital interface and the rest (as per dps) is one kind of hybrid.  That is, it has features of acoustics, but also features of dps.  I was invited to try one of those, as I wrote above, and was not impressed for the reasons I stated, but it was only a single one.

I have a digital hybrid, the CA97.  Yes, it is true that it has an actual spruce laminate sound board which vibrates via transducers if it is set to play into the room, in addition to some carefully placed speakers.  The feature of the sounding board is something one finds in acoustic pianos.  BUT that is not the only thing it has.  The CA67 is also a hybrid afaik, without having that sound board, because of the other features, which I'll write about next.

The additional features involve the mechanism of the piano keys, and this is the reason I purchased this piano, for my growth in piano technique.  This involves mechanical properties (hardware) as well as electronics.  You will find various demonstrations on-line such as this one:

The way the key balances, moves, responds, pushes back at your hand as you play, this is the mechanical part which resembles the action of an acoustic.  In particular, it resembles the action of grand pianos, where the levers go uphill, while on uprights the strings are set vertically and the system travels across (I think).  This part is gravity and physics.  There is no reason for these extra parts to exist on a digital per se, since all you need is for sensor points to be passed - but in mimic the physical parts of playing, they exist.  This helps in going back and forth to acoustics (grand, in particular).  There are various mechanical models being put out now for hybrids by Yamaha, Casio has one which I think has actual hammers resembling an acoustic, maybe Rolland etc.  This hybrid component involves the PIANO KEYS (not the sounding board).

There is also an electronic component, because these keys that feel so right in the hands also need to function.  So you have sensors placed in particular areas and software and hardware (electronics) to calculate all of that.

When it comes to sound, sampling is also starting to make way for another system, the name of which I've forgotten (Rolland touts itself as using that) but that would make it more complicated.

The CA97 and 67 are hybrids because of what has been done with the keys.  You have pianos that are essentially digitals, that are trying to acquire some characteristics of acoustic pianos.  You also have pianos that are essentially acoustics, that are trying to acquire some characteristics of digital.  It is not elegant to speak of mules. ;)
----------------
Adding: Here is a Yamaha hybrid, which has added the action in a rather literal manner of an upright; down to the wooden hammers covered in felt that touches nothing.


If you google hybrid + piano you're bound to find a number of variants.

Offline outin

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 04:49:54 AM »
Quote from: keypeg

When it comes to sound, sampling is also starting to make way for another system, the name of which I've forgotten (Rolland touts itself as using that) but that would make it more complicated.

Modelling is what Roland uses. I have a Roland and the possibilities of tweaking the sound are fine, but I have been thinking about looking into Kawais because of the touch. I am less interested in the sound of a digital because whatever I do it is still digital. But I am not fully comfortable with the touch of my Roland. Yet for some strange reason I have not managed to find any of the better kawais to try out in the local shops.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 06:56:02 AM »
Modelling is what Roland uses. I have a Roland and the possibilities of tweaking the sound are fine, but I have been thinking about looking into Kawais because of the touch. I am less interested in the sound of a digital because whatever I do it is still digital. But I am not fully comfortable with the touch of my Roland. Yet for some strange reason I have not managed to find any of the better kawais to try out in the local shops.
Modelling is the word I was looking for.  In fact, even the sampled pianos use some degree of modelling I found out.
What you're writing - I was in that kind of place at the time.  I went first to Yamaha and I think I explored the U1 or something like that, which had a very nice sound, but the touch was not what I had already experienced on the Kawai.  The room had strong acoustics making pianos sound especially impressive and I kept that in mind.
The next place I went to had Kawai acoustic grand pianos, Kawai CA97 and 67, and also Rollands. I first sat down at a Rolland.  That action was not quite the same.  But I did hover between the two for a while.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 11:51:16 AM »
Modelling is the word I was looking for.  In fact, even the sampled pianos use some degree of modelling I found out.
What you're writing - I was in that kind of place at the time.  I went first to Yamaha and I think I explored the U1 or something like that, which had a very nice sound, but the touch was not what I had already experienced on the Kawai.  The room had strong acoustics making pianos sound especially impressive and I kept that in mind.
The next place I went to had Kawai acoustic grand pianos, Kawai CA97 and 67, and also Rollands. I first sat down at a Rolland.  That action was not quite the same.  But I did hover between the two for a while.

I'm quite pleased with my Kawai as well and it's not even the most up to date or even the best in it's day . However it's a far better instrument because of the software Pianoteq. Pianoteq can be set to show more dynamic range than my real grand piano, it's actually too much for my playing style when I set it that way and I end up narrowing the band of range slightly. Pianoteq is not just a direct modeling of various instruments, though that is done for basic tonal quality but it builds the models as you play and so adjusts to your touch and in so doing it's not a huge library causing latency issues generally speaking. I'd love to couple that to a newer or higher grade Kawai with wooden key cores and proper pivot points of the keys .

And to Outin: I agree that the higher end Kawai's are hard to find to give them a try, I would have to go to another state some 120 miles away and they have some but perhaps not all of the models there. When I bought my MP6 (  now outdated ) , I did so from a place with a good return policy LOL ! But I didn't need to utilize that benefit. It's very decent to play, much better with Pianoteq software though, much better. Pianoteq adjusts to your touch as you play and builds it's models on the fly so to speak, it really changes some kludges of the MP6 library and built in habits as well, IMO.. Even if I eventually upgrade my MP6 to another Kawai with wooden key cores and better pivot points of the keys I'll want the sensitivity values of Pianoteq, as well as it's C Bechstein model and a couple of the Steinways I have built within it. It's faithful to produce the proper attacks and sustains etc and touch sensitivity of those instruments ( I have not bought the Bluthner pack for it but the Demo is very nice to play). The keys can feel lighter or heavier according to the instrument, even though the actual weight doesn't change, the response does dramatically. My MP6 is actually quite heavy physically, mid section being around 60 grams, it's a little heavier than my real grand ( 55), I bet the new ones are not that way.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 11:53:24 AM »
Hybrid refers to some kind of crossover between two things, and originally it referred to crosses between animals and plants, such as the mule for animals.  So various "hybrid" piano types have started to emerge.   The stringed acoustic piano that can also become a silent piano but with some kind of digital interface and the rest (as per dps) is one kind of hybrid.  That is, it has features of acoustics, but also features of dps.  I was invited to try one of those, as I wrote above, and was not impressed for the reasons I stated, but it was only a single one.

I have a digital hybrid, the CA97.  Yes, it is true that it has an actual spruce laminate sound board which vibrates via transducers if it is set to play into the room, in addition to some carefully placed speakers.  The feature of the sounding board is something one finds in acoustic pianos.  BUT that is not the only thing it has.  The CA67 is also a hybrid afaik, without having that sound board, because of the other features, which I'll write about next.

The additional features involve the mechanism of the piano keys, and this is the reason I purchased this piano, for my growth in piano technique.  This involves mechanical properties (hardware) as well as electronics.  You will find various demonstrations on-line such as this one:

The way the key balances, moves, responds, pushes back at your hand as you play, this is the mechanical part which resembles the action of an acoustic.  In particular, it resembles the action of grand pianos, where the levers go uphill, while on uprights the strings are set vertically and the system travels across (I think).  This part is gravity and physics.  There is no reason for these extra parts to exist on a digital per se, since all you need is for sensor points to be passed - but in mimic the physical parts of playing, they exist.  This helps in going back and forth to acoustics (grand, in particular).  There are various mechanical models being put out now for hybrids by Yamaha, Casio has one which I think has actual hammers resembling an acoustic, maybe Rolland etc.  This hybrid component involves the PIANO KEYS (not the sounding board).

There is also an electronic component, because these keys that feel so right in the hands also need to function.  So you have sensors placed in particular areas and software and hardware (electronics) to calculate all of that.

When it comes to sound, sampling is also starting to make way for another system, the name of which I've forgotten (Rolland touts itself as using that) but that would make it more complicated.

The CA97 and 67 are hybrids because of what has been done with the keys.  You have pianos that are essentially digitals, that are trying to acquire some characteristics of acoustic pianos.  You also have pianos that are essentially acoustics, that are trying to acquire some characteristics of digital.  It is not elegant to speak of mules. ;)
----------------
Adding: Here is a Yamaha hybrid, which has added the action in a rather literal manner of an upright; down to the wooden hammers covered in felt that touches nothing.


If you google hybrid + piano you're bound to find a number of variants.

Well, I told you I might not be up to date LOL ! Thanks keypeg.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 02:40:42 PM »

But I must say that some other people very much like my piano and do not think there's anything wrong with the touch. I think it depends on what kind of music you play and what you focus on in your studies. I too find the touch to be very important. And I think my playing improved immensely after I got another acoustic piano to practice on. I only use the upright now when it's impossible to play without headphones. I feel sorry for the piano though, it is tuned regularly and hardly ever played on the acoustic mode. I think I should just find it a better home...

Nooooo, because I loved being at your place with two pianos! And I know exactly what you mean with the silent function changing the performance of the piano. I have played on countless Yamaha U1 pianos at my piano summer schools, but then I came home to my piano teacher who has a silent U1 and I felt the difference. Then I noticed it was the same with your piano. The grand is of course much, much nicer to play but ... after all these pianos I have tried the last years, I am kind of used to variations ... Some pianos are like a dream, some are horrible, some are digital, some are acoustic, some are like this and some like that. I love my own digital grand, but I have also tried some cheap digitals that were so bad that I simply refused to play more than a few notes.

Recently I found a grand that looked lovely on the photos - a bit like yours - and had a most reasonable price ... and then I discovered that the seller was just a few kilometres away from my home! Uh ... too tempting. A lovely grand, right size, right price, so close to my own home. I have not dared to contact the seller because ... I don't have room for this instrument. Or I have to sell my digital grand, and I am not ready to do that yet. As I said, I like it too much. It is my friend and my companion.

But if the new Kawai Novus get available and affordable ... I have to try it, at least. It looks incredibly promising. I have played the Yamaha AvanGrand N1 several times and even though the sound is not like the real thing, the touch is.

PS. About that acoustic grand that was for sale - I don't know if it is still available today, though - my husband mumbled something about storing in warehouses ... Oh. It is very, very tempting. Just 800 euro (plus, I assume, costs for some renovation).

Offline outin

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #15 on: January 08, 2018, 02:52:42 PM »
Nooooo, because I loved being at your place with two pianos! And I know exactly what you mean with the silent function changing the performance of the piano. I have played on countless Yamaha U1 pianos at my piano summer schools, but then I came home to my piano teacher who has a silent U1 and I felt the difference. Then I noticed it was the same with your piano. The grand is of course much, much nicer to play but ... after all these pianos I have tried the last years, I am kind of used to variations ... Some pianos are like a dream, some are horrible, some are digital, some are acoustic, some are like this and some like that. I love my own digital grand, but I have also tried some cheap digitals that were so bad that I simply refused to play more than a few notes.

Recently I found a grand that looked lovely on the photos - a bit like yours - and had a most reasonable price ... and then I discovered that the seller was just a few kilometres away from my home! Uh ... too tempting. A lovely grand, right size, right price, so close to my own home. I have not dared to contact the seller because ... I don't have room for this instrument. Or I have to sell my digital grand, and I am not ready to do that yet. As I said, I like it too much. It is my friend and my companion.

But if the new Kawai Novus get available and affordable ... I have to try it, at least. It looks incredibly promising. I have played the Yamaha AvanGrand N1 several times and even though the sound is not like the real thing, the touch is.

PS. About that acoustic grand that was for sale - I don't know if it is still available today, though - my husband mumbled something about storing in warehouses ... Oh. It is very, very tempting. Just 800 euro (plus, I assume, costs for some renovation).


I probably am too lazy to sell the Yamaha too soon anyway :)

The price of the grand sounds too low...mine was a bargain for 5000eur. But it's Sweden, maybe old grands are not valued that high...you would need to try it out to see if it's too much work and preferably consult a tech.

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #16 on: January 08, 2018, 04:43:44 PM »
Uprights are often given away for free in these days (the buyer has to arrange the transport, though) and I have also seen grands being sold for almost nothing. But it has to do with the condition, of course. This piano looks great on the photos. I also know a business that can do absolute wonders with old pianos, making them look and feel just like new ... that costs far more than 800 EUR, though ... rather 8000.

... and yes, I am fully aware that a piano can look great on a photo and sound like a wreck, don't anyone worry. I was not born yesterday.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #17 on: January 08, 2018, 09:40:15 PM »
Uprights are often given away for free in these days (the buyer has to arrange the transport, though) and I have also seen grands being sold for almost nothing. But it has to do with the condition, of course. This piano looks great on the photos. I also know a business that can do absolute wonders with old pianos, making them look and feel just like new ... that costs far more than 800 EUR, though ... rather 8000.

... and yes, I am fully aware that a piano can look great on a photo and sound like a wreck, don't anyone worry. I was not born yesterday.
I'm hoping/praying on a grand for you bronnestam ! Anyone who loves piano as you do will appreciate it. But digital has it's place too, no question about that.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline honzaes

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #18 on: January 15, 2018, 08:43:41 PM »
Interresting to read how the topic developped here! Great discussion.

Anyway - today I had opportunity to play Kawai Novus NV10 piano. The key action is just perfect, as in full Kawai grand piano. The sound in my AKG 701 was slightly too much bass (and AKG is not really bass-rich, it is more flat curve headphones, so I am wonderring why it is so overboost in lower ranges in instrument itself, but its not hifi really..). The speaker system - to be honest, I did not hear anything extraordinary. Just very good sound of another digital piano, class of Avant Grands from Yamaha but nothing much more. Also, the options in the new Kawai control unit with touch screen are somehow not convenient for me, or done complicated with no reason. The main piano sound has different options like classic or romantic. But I did not find any BASIC piano function - to close lid, open lid etc (but fair to say - I did not look for them too much, so maybe its there...). The other sounds like organ or harpsichord are slightly disappointing, normal digital piano extra sounds, not of my main interrest. I was expectecting slightly more from new piano samples. Anyway generally the piano is beatifully built.

Anyway I was happy enough today - in the shop there were also Kawai and Steinway grands (REAL grands:-)), and I was encouraged to try. So my fingers did touch today Kawai GL 40, GX3 and Shigeru Kawai of several different sizes. The SK2 is just stunning instrument. The color and richness of the tone from 1.8m piano is simply mind blowing, and I have never heard something like that before even from bigger instruments.

Anyway the conclusion of the day is - digital is not for me, and I will be highly likely looking for acoustic instrument with silent system for neighbour-friendly evening practicing. But that one was stunning...




Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #19 on: January 16, 2018, 01:22:13 AM »
Interresting to read how the topic developped here! Great discussion.

 The SK2 is just stunning instrument. The color and richness of the tone from 1.8m piano is simply mind blowing, and I have never heard something like that before even from bigger instruments.



You're screwed now !! You won't want anything else, least not for a while. You gotta love those Shigeru's.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline honzaes

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #20 on: January 16, 2018, 10:16:52 AM »
You're screwed now !! You won't want anything else, least not for a while. You gotta love those Shirgeru's.

True, but its not reasonable, this is how I fight it in my mind:-) But actually I might go cheapest silent baby grand rental for one year, and then make my decision what will the the lifetime one. Shop has a good deal when you rent and want to purchase afterwards, no loss option.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #21 on: January 16, 2018, 10:25:10 AM »
True, but its not reasonable, this is how I fight it in my mind:-) But actually I might go cheapest silent baby grand rental for one year, and then make my decision what will the the lifetime one. Shop has a good deal when you rent and want to purchase afterwards, no loss option.

That sounds reasonable.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #22 on: January 17, 2018, 10:22:44 AM »
Shigeru Kawai is one of the best grands I have ever played, I truly enjoyed both the touch and the sound. Unfortunately their price has sky-rocketed since they got some reputation.

On the other hand, the Kawai Novus hybrid indeed has the sound from Shigeru Kawai, as I recall it.

And yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that no digital in the world can beat a fine acoustic grand. All of us would have one if we could ... Sorry, but I have been annoyed more than once by people who proudly tell us that they can clearly feel the difference and they clearly prefer the acoustic grand to a digital. (Wow ...) Their ears and fingers are so delicate and fine-tuned or whatever, that they simply fall apart if they are forced to play on these second rate instruments.  ::)

Having said that, I wish you the best of luck with your choice of instrument and I wish you many happy playing moments! :)

Offline honzaes

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #23 on: January 17, 2018, 06:24:40 PM »
Shigeru Kawai is one of the best grands I have ever played, I truly enjoyed both the touch and the sound. Unfortunately their price has sky-rocketed since they got some reputation.

On the other hand, the Kawai Novus hybrid indeed has the sound from Shigeru Kawai, as I recall it.

And yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that no digital in the world can beat a fine acoustic grand. All of us would have one if we could ... Sorry, but I have been annoyed more than once by people who proudly tell us that they can clearly feel the difference and they clearly prefer the acoustic grand to a digital. (Wow ...) Their ears and fingers are so delicate and fine-tuned or whatever, that they simply fall apart if they are forced to play on these second rate instruments.  ::)

Having said that, I wish you the best of luck with your choice of instrument and I wish you many happy playing moments! :)

To soften a bit my statements about digitals here, or why I decided to go more real than digital:-)

- My teacher actually started the discussion about the touch, and truth is that Steinways in the school are so much different from digital I play at home. Obviously before I started to have regular play on Steinway, I was ok living with what I have. Happy ignorance.

- Ears and sensitivity, I think that depends on individual. I dont say my ears are any more senisitive than others. Thats probably false and I would never state that, as I can´t really compare what others hear:-)

- The real piano is so much different from digital with additional physical feeling. I want to stop looking for instrument which in fact will be always piano simulator. I want to play piano, and I will  need to make a lot of compromises in my appartment to make it happen.

- I have heard Avant Grand being played in the shop, and untill I did not see its digital, I was not sure what it was. But different story is when you are listenning to your piano for hours of practice, and there digital sound may become annoying (for me the only longterm pleasant VST is Garritan CFX).

- Shigeru Kawai has a high pricetag, and may not be my choice for that reason:-) But it may be the winner if I am in position to select without limits of space and budget. I do consider also, that after 10 years almost any digital will be slightly outdated, and in 20 years will need to be replaced, but acoustic may be the lifetime music partner - which I would really love to achieve one day in future.

Regardless of what instrument we have, we all play for beauty, serenity, passion and endless other expessions and colors of piano music. Myself I appreciate also the never ending challenge, lifetime learning process. That is what connects us here in this forum, whatever different personal opinions we may have. So thanks to all for advice, and I wish you all great joy of music!

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #24 on: January 18, 2018, 11:29:23 AM »
To soften a bit my statements about digitals here, or why I decided to go more real than digital:-)

- My teacher actually started the discussion about the touch, and truth is that Steinways in the school are so much different from digital I play at home. Obviously before I started to have regular play on Steinway, I was ok living with what I have. Happy ignorance.

- Ears and sensitivity, I think that depends on individual. I dont say my ears are any more senisitive than others. Thats probably false and I would never state that, as I can´t really compare what others hear:-)

- The real piano is so much different from digital with additional physical feeling. I want to stop looking for instrument which in fact will be always piano simulator. I want to play piano, and I will  need to make a lot of compromises in my appartment to make it happen.

- I have heard Avant Grand being played in the shop, and untill I did not see its digital, I was not sure what it was. But different story is when you are listenning to your piano for hours of practice, and there digital sound may become annoying (for me the only longterm pleasant VST is Garritan CFX).

- Shigeru Kawai has a high pricetag, and may not be my choice for that reason:-) But it may be the winner if I am in position to select without limits of space and budget. I do consider also, that after 10 years almost any digital will be slightly outdated, and in 20 years will need to be replaced, but acoustic may be the lifetime music partner - which I would really love to achieve one day in future.

Regardless of what instrument we have, we all play for beauty, serenity, passion and endless other expessions and colors of piano music. Myself I appreciate also the never ending challenge, lifetime learning process. That is what connects us here in this forum, whatever different personal opinions we may have. So thanks to all for advice, and I wish you all great joy of music!

Teachers come with stigmas and sometimes old thoughts of early toy keyboards or even inferior professional keyboard touch from an early experience. my teacher decades ago now, wouldn't take a student if they didn't have a real piano as she called it. her Steinway was the golden standard as she let the action go over time and it became unbearable to play as I advanced enough to know ( around my eight year or so). Kawai uses the jack system of a grand, the length key core of a grand and very close to the sound of a grand these days. Now you take that and finish it off with some tweaks in Pianoteq and there isn't much left to want from an acoustic piano in terms of play ability, assuming it's all sent through a decent sound system. I'd say it comes down to sympathetic resonance of each piano, you may or may not nail that in Pianoteq Standard) and certainly a bit more organic feel than a good speaker system can deliver. Sound will be as good as the sound system you play the digital through and that part can be huge to conquer.

But ya, you sit at a beautiful grand piano ( or in my case not so beautiful grand piano) and you have the one rendition sitting before you that is most definitely real. That part is an inescapable truth. But when I play piano, I get lost in my music and the sounds I produce, in fact often the sounds of the piano dictate what I will create. You still can't escape the organic truth/feel of a real grand piano, even if it's one rendition of what pianos can sound like. In terms of purely sound there is still one more item to cover, will any piano or sound system sound in your house as it did in the show room ?  You won't know that answer till you put one in there !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #25 on: January 23, 2018, 06:20:27 AM »
I received a suggestion today, when I was asking about headphones and stated that I have a Kawai CA97, that I should buy a Williams piano (I think they're all digital). 

Offline kalirren

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #26 on: October 10, 2018, 07:27:42 AM »
A bit of thread necromancy here, but this is still the most recent thread on the topic on the forum and appears on search engines, so I thought I'd leave my experiences.

Having bought a high-end digital Kawai 2 years ago, I'll keep my high-end digital for as long as I can, and let institutions own and maintain acoustics. For several reasons, these Kawai digitals would be my first recommendation to any intermediate to advanced student who is considering a grand or baby grand piano. Consider the following advantages:

0) Tuning and upkeep on an acoustic cost money. Be sure to price those in as you consider your purchase. Tuning twice yearly at $150/tuning is $300/year, $1500 over 5 years, and good luck finding a tuner at that price.

1) A digital piano has a volume control. A piano is only as good as it matches the space you put it in, and the playing and listening experience of a digital piano with a volume control will beat that of an acoustic piano 9 times out of 10.

2) The Kawai digitals, at least, come with preset historical temperaments, as well as the ability to define custom user temperaments. This feature allows even the bulk of us who cannot tune our own pianos to experiment with how tuning affects the way we play. To anyone who hasn't played with this before, the differences are more profound than you think, and temperaments remain useful up through the beginning of the 20th century music (e.g. Debussy); it's only really the post-WWI stuff that stops making good use of it.

3) The Kawai digital pianos come with "Virtual Technician" functionality. Don't like how open the sound is? change it. Need more response in the treble? open up the voicing. Need to change temperament? A short sequence of key strokes will do it. I'm not sure if the Yamaha pianos have this functionality.

4) By combination of overlaying samples in the synthesizer and changing the voicing in those in those samples, I've been able to re-create my impressions of period pianos I have heard in museums. Have you ever wondered what a good 19th century salon piano (not a concert hall piano) would sound like in your space? Or what has historically been sacrificed in terms of tone for projection? People who own acoustics can only dream of finding out, or go to dealers and hope to stumble across something interesting while it's in stock. I have been able to explore these possibilities with a digital in my own home, and it has been worth a lot.

5) As of 2 years ago, Kawai was at least 3 years ahead of Yamaha in functionality, and the admittedly slightly better quality of the Yamaha/Bosendorfer samples just doesn't compare with the ability to mix new piano sounds on the Kawai.

6) It's really easy to record yourself playing. Listening to your own recordings makes you improve.

7) You can practice silently.

Drawbacks:

1) The digitals do not have the full sonority of a concert grand and can leave you unprepared to make use of it.

2) Getting used to having a volume control poorly prepares you to cope with a piano in its space.

3) The action in the Kawai is a bit slower than one might like from a hybrid. While theoretically equivalent to a grand, in practice you just can't play super-duper fast repeated notes (e.g., Alborada del gracioso; I content myself with doubles instead of triples). Super-duper fast notes in general are, of course, not a problem.
Beethoven: An die Ferne Geliebte
Franck: Sonata in A Major
Vieuxtemps: Sonata in Bb Major for Viola
Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute in D Major

Offline nastassja

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #27 on: February 07, 2019, 03:37:41 PM »
I personally love my Kawai K15 silent (the silent system is actually called "anytime"). It has a light, responsive action for an upright, and I think that it is a good piano for small apartments. It was my favorite within all of the silent instruments I tried (Yamaha B1 to B3, Kemble, Essex and other Kawais with shorter keys, plus a fair amount of regular pianos with silent systems installed afterwards) . No system is perfect so sometimes it is tricky to play repeated notes, but to be fair most uprights cannot repeat notes as fast as grand pianos anyway. I tried the CA97 as well as other models and I found them quite satisfactory to play too, I hesitated quite a bit (especially because of the "virtual technician" feature). Yamaha´s Avantgrand is very good in terms of touch but it did not sound quite natural when I tried it.
It all comes down to your preferences in terms of sound, the available space (and budget, sometimes you can find that the piano you like is overpriced, it is worth visiting several stores and being open to trying more brands) that you have, and compromise: I do notice a difference when switching from silent to acoustic sound, but it is something I can deal with.

Offline doctonewheel

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #28 on: February 05, 2020, 12:47:37 AM »
I've owned a Yamaha Avant Grand N2 for 3 years now and I really love it! The action is virtually indistinguishable from a Yamaha acoustic grand, although I feel the sensitivity of the pedaling is a bit different. My teacher has a Steinway Model B with a feather-light action so it is a bit of an adjustment for lessons, but no more than if I had a Yamaha C2X or other Yamaha at home. The one thing I do love is it is always in tune. When I go to play on my teacher's piano, I notice tuning issues much more. Sometimes it is so out after being banged on by all her other students, it throws my playing off because I am so used to the perfect tuning on the N2. For the reasons I bought it (wanted real grand piano action [not an upright], didn't want to deal with tuning or humidity issues, wanted headphones for silent playing, built in metronome, etc.) I have no regrets whatsoever. I used to use a Yamaha CP4 digital (which is no slouch) for practice and this is light years better as evidenced by my teacher saying how much my playing has improved. My current pieces are Bach Prelude and Fugue No.2 in C Minor, BWV 847 and Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# minor, Opus 3, No.2 and the N2 handles all the nuances of these pieces.

Offline timtim

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #29 on: February 07, 2020, 09:23:49 AM »
Actually there are only few true hybrids on the market. The only one true HYBRIDS are Yamaha TransAcoustic and Kawai ATX series. These are only pianos, which comes will fully integrated digital parts (no added afterwards). Besides there are acoustics with added silent systems, but htat’s not the same.

As for digital hybrid – is just marketing term to differentiate high quality digital from the standard part. Kawai even calls their CA series hybrids, and Casio their GP.

There is also one competitor for Avantgrand series and this is Kawai NV10, with their full Millenium III action and latest sound system and UI.  But their cost as much as used baby grand and one buy good quality upright for same money or true hybrid.

I heard recording made on Garritan CFX on Yamaha N3 and they were absolutely stunning and hard to distinguish from real recorded thing. But N3 is another beast, and user spend a lot of time to adjust the Garritax for the proper sound.

Offline doctonewheel

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #30 on: May 09, 2020, 02:13:43 AM »
I do want to say that I played a new Steinway Model B and fell in love with it. However, it was a bit out of my price range! :-)

Offline pianolover91

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Re: Hybrid pianos by Yamaha and Kawai
«Reply #31 on: July 03, 2020, 11:26:41 AM »
Hybrid refers to some kind of crossover between two things, and originally it referred to crosses between animals and plants, such as the mule for animals.  So various "hybrid" piano types have started to emerge.   The stringed acoustic piano that can also become a silent piano but with some kind of digital interface and the rest (as per dps) is one kind of hybrid.  That is, it has features of acoustics, but also features of dps.  I was invited to try one of those, as I wrote above, and was not impressed for the reasons I stated, but it was only a single one.

I have a digital hybrid, the CA97.  Yes, it is true that it has an actual spruce laminate sound board which vibrates via transducers if it is set to play into the room, in addition to some carefully placed speakers.  The feature of the sounding board is something one finds in acoustic pianos.  BUT that is not the only thing it has.  The CA67 is also a hybrid afaik, without having that sound board, because of the other features, which I'll write about next.

The additional features involve the mechanism of the piano keys, and this is the reason I purchased this piano, for my growth in piano technique.  This involves mechanical properties (hardware) as well as electronics.  You will find various demonstrations on-line such as this one:

The way the key balances, moves, responds, pushes back at your hand as you play, this is the mechanical part which resembles the action of an acoustic.  In particular, it resembles the action of grand pianos, where the levers go uphill, while on uprights the strings are set vertically and the system travels across (I think).  This part is gravity and physics.  There is no reason for these extra parts to exist on a digital per se, since all you need is for sensor points to be passed - but in mimic the physical parts of playing, they exist.  This helps in going back and forth to acoustics (grand, in particular).  There are various mechanical models being put out now for hybrids by Yamaha, Casio has one which I think has actual hammers resembling an acoustic, maybe Rolland etc.  This hybrid component involves the PIANO KEYS (not the sounding board).

There is also an electronic component, because these keys that feel so right in the hands also need to function.  So you have sensors placed in particular areas and software and hardware (electronics) to calculate all of that.

When it comes to sound, sampling is also starting to make way for another system, the name of which I've forgotten (Rolland touts itself as using that) but that would make it more complicated.

The CA97 and 67 are hybrids because of what has been done with the keys.  You have pianos that are essentially digitals, that are trying to acquire some characteristics of acoustic pianos.  You also have pianos that are essentially acoustics, that are trying to acquire some characteristics of digital.  It is not elegant to speak of mules. ;)
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Adding: Here is a Yamaha hybrid, which has added the action in a rather literal manner of an upright; down to the wooden hammers covered in felt that touches nothing.


If you google hybrid + piano you're bound to find a number of variants.

Wow thanks for this in depth explanation! Helped me a lot!