“It has a real “live” sound – I am totally in love with it!”
Following on from the excellent research that Graham Howard provided and following some Email discussion with Graham, I ended up purchasing the Yamaha NU1 Hybrid Piano.
This piano is absolutely lovely and I am totally in love with it. What is a hybrid Piano you ask? Well, this Piano has the internal action of a Yamaha Upright piano, but it doesn’t contain any strings, but instead uses samples from Yamaha’s top Grand Piano which is challenging Steinway for their crown.
The Piano looks absolutely amazing. It has a black polished ebony finish and looks to all intents and purposes like an acoustic piano. The only real difference being the height (it is not as tall) and the weight (it is much lighter). There is a very small subtle control panel on the left of the keyboard and an on/off switch on the right of the keyboard. One closer inspection, you notice the discrete speakers although I didn’t even spot these until they were pointed out to me.
The NU1 looks the part and would be a desirable piece of furtniture in any room. It also has all the other little features that shout out quality such as a slow descend lid and three very shiny and authentically behaving silver pedals.
So, what does it sound like? Well it sounds like the piano that it samples. The samples have all been taken individually from several different parts of the sampled Grand Piano. The samples with pedals are also taken seperately which gives a very real feel to the sound.
The internal speakers are excellent and it sounds amazing both when playing it and when listening from a distance.
The feel of the piano was the main reason I purchased it though. I have lessons on a decent Grand Piano and am at a level now (just sat Grade 5) where my old digital piano was teaching me bad technique. Well, the Yamaha NU1 is a delight to play and has the feel of an acoustic piano. The keys feel the same. You can do things (such as trills) in the same way as you would on a real acoustic and there is not a big transition when you move from this to an acoustic.
With my old DP, I was finding that the techniques I used on one would not transfer to the other and vice versa. I don’t get this at all. It is a joy to play.
So, why did I buy a hybrid? Well, it sounds much better than any comparable priced upright I could buy. Plus it doesn’t require tuning and has two headphone sockets meaning that you can play at any time of the day or night and a friend can listen in too.
What else might you want to know? There are five voicings. 2 x Grand Piano, 2 x Electric Piano & 1 x Harpsichord. Not many, but sufficient for what I realistically need. It allows you to record what you are playing to the internal memory or to a USB stick and supports MIDI should you want to export stuff and add different sounds.
It also comes with the music for 50 classical songs in a Yamaha book and these songs are built into the piano, so you can hear how they should sound, trick your friends into thinking you are a maestro or just listen to for relaxation or to learn from.
This all sounds a bit positive, what are the bad points? Well, to be honest, I don’t have much negative to say about it. The polished black finish shows up fingerprints quite easily, so I spend more time polishing it than I did the previous one. However, I also spend more time playing it. I just want to sit down and play! The voices are limited, but to be honest, when I had 600 voices, I only really used a few piano and electric piano sounds. I miss the pad sounds, but you can use MIDI for things like this.
Besides, the acoustic pianos only have one sound, so I’m already up on the deal. You don’t get the exact same feel through your fingers as with a genuine acoustic, but it is close enough and feels a lot nicer to my fingers if anything.
In summary, this piano is amazing. There are other piano’s in the Avant Grande range that maybe feel more authentic, but they sample the older Yamaha Grand and cost double the price, so aren’t really an option.
I love this piano. My friends love this piano. It has a real “live” sound. It feels like you are interecting with a “real” instrument. I have also recently played a Yamaha upright and I didn’t think it quite sounded or felt as nice to play.
GO BUY THIS PIANO! You won’t regret it.
Review by Jon Scriven, Biggin Hill, Kent
“Lovely piano sound”
My choice was made basically because of combination of it’s amazing closeness to an acoustic when playing (in my amateur view) and also the lovely piano sound and the relative simplicity in terms of knobs and functions – with the volume control and the record features being the ones I most wanted.
I love the piano with one reservation – the mechanical sound of hitting the keys is really loud and can sound almost like knocking on a door and makes me wonder if the neighbours can hear that through the wall. And also it means that the volume needs to be higher when practising (than on the Broadway) which slightly defeats the object of volume control. Still quieter than an acoustic of course and I am not disappointed but I have had to get used to this.
I mentioned it to the shop and queried whether the piano was set up right, so played it on silent over the phone to the guy in the shop. He said it was a normal sound but admitted it was louder than with the silent acoustic models.
I have suggested he mention it to Yamaha and that this should be addressed in their next model design.
I think your service and advice is amazing – sorry I didn’t buy from you but had to trade in 2 pianos to make the purchase.
Review by Judith McGaw
“These are customer reviews from actual owners of this piano.
The most recent review is at the top of this page “, Graham Howard, Piano Advisor
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>> For Yamaha NU1 AvantGrand information, specifications and prices, click here