Okay I know this is meant to be all about Clavinovas, but when Yamaha release new stuff I think its worth while telling you about them. From the reviews they sound very good.

Yamaha have a quite a funny way of releasing their products. They release them in the good old U S of A first in time with NAMM (a massive EXPO show), so here in old blighty we have to rely on videos on YouTube unless you’re lucky enough to have visited NAMM, and wait. Yamaha are launching a whole new bunch of pianos and keyboards at the Frankfurt show at the end of March and so they should be available to the baying public soon after.

Anyway, so what’s to look forward to…… (I’ll do a few posts spread out over the next few days).

First up is the Yamaha CP1 Stage Piano – this looks like an awesome improvement on the CP. Modeling technology to replicate the acoustic and electric piano sounds of days gone by. A proper vintage electric piano. There are rumors that they have improved the action as well. We’ll have to see about that.

You can check out a more thorough review here.

For those waiting for a posting on the CLP functionality, I’ve had a change of mind again. The CVP wins again. I wanted to provide some more detail about the Super Articulation Voices. Rather than me try to express in words I’ve got a handy video from Yamaha demonstrating this feature. I’m sure you’ll agree that the sounds are a vast improvement.

Yamaha CVP Clavinovas

February 15, 2010

This posting is all about what you get under the hood with Yamaha CVP Clavinovas. I said in my last posting that I would explain about the CLP & CVP Clavinovas, but to help keep things clear for my readers, and for me, its better I split up this posting into two postings and CVP’s won. Sorry to the CLPs and nothing personal. Its just my preference. So without wasting any more time, lets have a look.

Yamaha have recently replaced the CVP 400 series with the 500 series. This is not just some marketing scam with a obligatory change of model numbers to make you think they have improved the models – Yamaha always make improvements when they replace a series of models, and the improvements are incredible. Before I go into this, lets have a look at the basics.

Learn to Play the Piano with Accompaniments

In all of the CVP’s you will find a number of songs stored for you play back and to play along to. In the centre of the pianos there is a LCD display which shows you the score/notes of the song you are playing and the notes that you need to play. A great feature of this function is the bouncing ball showing you where you are in the song and it slows the tempo according to your tempo. This is a great way to start learning, and you’re not limited to the songs on the piano. You can link up the CVP’s to the internet and download songs directly from the Yamaha website. They have over 4000 songs to choose from, so you’re bound to find one that you’ll enjoy playing along to.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t read music. Yamaha have conveniently added a guide light by the keys of the piano to tell you which note to play next and it will even slow the song down until you have pressed the right note. You can even select a mode to allow you to play the more difficult parts with just one hand, or the whole song with one hand. Its totally up to you and dependent on your level of ability.

Create your own band with different styles

The Yamaha CVP Clavinovas have a variety of styles that allow the player to add different instruments to play backing music to what you play, based on the style you choose. You’ll sound like a band/orchestra all on your own. If you’re not sure of the instruments to choose as backing, the CVP can help you with the Music Finder. You can also vary the arrangement of the piece of music you’re playing. There are three steps to creating your own band/orchestra.

  • Choose your accompaniment track e.g. jazz, pop, world music etc.
  • Start the song by playing a chord with your left hand and you play the melody with your right hand.
  • Create exciting variations by adding in different fills, intros and endings with the touch of one button.

Super Articulation Voice/Pure CF Sampling and more……

Yamaha have really gone to great lengths to improve the sounds of the other instruments. The CVP clavinovas already have fantastic piano sounds, but as with a lot of digital pianos its usually the woodwind and guitar sounds that can be a let down. Yamaha have borrowed the technology from another instrument they make called the Tyros (a digital keyboard/workstation). Super Articulation Voices technology has vastly improved for instance the woodwind instruments. On the sax sounds you’ll hear the sound of a sax player blowing through the sax, and the effect of the pads opening and closing, all of which add to the sound of a real saxophone being played. Or you the guitar sounds you’ll hear the strings being rubbed together. Simply incredible when you hear them.

Pure CF Sampling is used to create piano sounds that are faithful to the original piano sounds sampled for THE best Yamaha concert piano. Yamaha will always be improving this through advancements in technology.

Audio Recording

A lot of players will want to record what they are playing, if not to cringe but to re-arrange, add new parts, review, or audition a new composition. You can do this very easily with the Yamaha CVP clavinovas. Add to this a lot of people own music sequencing software like Cubase or Logic which you can link up to directly using either the MIDI or USB  connections. The options are only limited to your imagination. You can even connect a mic to the 500 series of clavinovas and record yourself singing at the same time as playing the piano.

This only really covers the basics. To get the most out of 500 series clavinovas you will need to commit to getting to know the software and how each function works – yes you might have to read the manual. But it really will be worth it. Otherwise what’s the point in having all the gadgets. It would be like having a Ferrari and only using 3 of the gears.

Next posting will be on the CLP series and a slightly shorter posting.

I’ve decided to post a very brief posting on the cost of Yamaha Clavinovas. I get so many questions about this and this is borne from the fluctuating prices you will see when researching prices on the web. The truth of the matter is that there is no set guideline here. The prices are dictated by the retailers and their price will depend on several factors.

  • How big a Yamaha Dealer are they?  Yamaha have several tiers of retailers with the top retailers getting the best discounts. They won’t always pass that discount onto their customers though.
  • When did the retailer buy the clavinova? Yamaha Clavinovas are manufactured in Japan and before they reach the UK they go through two rates of exchange. They go to France first before arriving in the UK. Rates of exchange fluctuate quite a bit these days and this will dictate the price the retailer buys at and how good their price is.

The CVP range are generally more expensive than CLP’s. They have more functions and gizmos so thats to be expected really. The Yamaha Clavinovas come in variety of finishes; Polished Ebony, Polished Mahogany, Rosewood and Cherry, with Polished Ebony being the most expensive and Cherry the least. This isn’t always the case, sometimes you’ll find a Polished Ebony that less expensive than a Rosewood – this is probably because it old. It may even be a ex-display/demo model.

Here are a couple of pointers to help you out.

  • Ask the dealer if they are a specialist Yamaha dealer
  • Always ask the dealer if the model is new or an ex-demo model
  • Ask if the model is a current model

I’ve done a bit of research myself and here are some of the best deals I found on the following Yamaha Clavinovas:

Yamaha CLP 330 Clavinova in Polished Ebony £1389 + £49 delivery

Yamaha CLP340 Clavinova in Polished Ebony £1699 + £49 delivery

Yamaha CLP370 Clavinova in Polished Ebony £1899 + £49 delivery

Yamaha CVP501 Clavinova in Polished Ebony £1849 + £49 delivery

Happy shopping. Any questions you know what to do!

Clavinova Information Centre

February 8, 2010

Hello,

If you haven’t already worked it out already, this blog is all about Yamaha Clavinovas. This is an independent blog and I am in no way affiliated with Yamaha. I do work in a music shop called Umbrella Music and I pride myself on giving unbiased useful advice. This blog will serve as a great way for you to compare clavinovas and make the right choice if you are thinking of buying a clavinova, as well as a forum for open commentary and debate. It will mainly be aimed at those of you who are beginners or new to Clavinovas.

I’ll also provide links to other useful information to do with playing pianos e.g. caring for your piano, choosing a music teacher, music software and accessories, tips and tricks and what ever else I think you might need. Please let me know if there is something I have missed and I’ll make sure to look into it for you.

Moving on, lets get started on Clavinovas. To start off, I thought it would be good to give you a little bit of history about digital pianos and following on from that I’ll give you a break down on the difference between the two ranges of Clavinovas available.

A Very Brief History of Digital Pianos

Digital pianos appeared on the scene in the 1980′s and were born from a desire for a less expensive more portable version of the traditional acoustic piano as well as geeks just being geeks and doing what they do. A digital piano uses sounds that are sampled from the real sounds of pianos. There, I told you it was a very brief history. I might come back to that again in a future post.

What’s the difference between CLP and CVP Clavinovas?

Yamaha Clavinovas come in two ranges, the CLPs and CVPs.  The main difference between the two ranges are that CLP’s have less sounds and less functionality than the CVP’s. Sometimes less is more, and if you’re buying a clavinova for a younger player i.e. 10 years or younger, and they are a beginner, you would be advised to buy a model that isn’t too confusing and has minimum of distractions. In this case the CLP’s are perfect. The CVP’s are for more advanced players, and players who are willing to take a considerable amount of time to understand how the software works with the array of functions available in the CVP’s.

I’ve come across countless players who are gadget fiends and want everything no matter what the cost. In some of these cases, the players have ended up either only using a small number of the functions or they have given up completely on the instrument in pure frustration, and resigned the poor piano to the garage/shed/loft. All of which is quite a considerable waste of money.

Sound Quality

9 times out 10 the people I speak to enquiring about clavinovas, the first thing they ask about is to do with the quality of the piano sound. Yamaha have invested bucket loads of money on the technology producing the piano sounds – and oh my god they have spent their money well. Long gone are the days of fake, tinny and obviously synthesized piano sounds. It would take a concert pianists of the highest order to notice the difference between a top end digital piano and an acoustic concert piano.

To help create the realistic piano sounds you hear from clavinovas, Yamaha have painstakingly recorded every single note on their own acoustic concert piano, and then used amazing digital filtering technology to reproduce the sounds on the clavinovas. In terms of how the piano sounds compare between the CLP and CVP, there is no discernible difference between the top end model of the CLP range and that of the CVP range. At the lower end there is a difference. Albeit not a vast difference, you can tell, and I am no concert pianist.

Touch and Feel

Another subject that always crops up in conversations about digital pianos is to do with the touch and feel e.g. how closely does it resemble a real piano. Once again Yamaha have spent a lot of money on this area. All clavinovas come with Graded Hammer Action keys. In basic terms Graded Hammer Action keys resemble the touch and feel of an acoustic piano. The keys at the higher end of the octave will be lighter to touch and gradually get heavier the lower down the octave you go. This is really important in creating the delicate and subtle nuances that a lot of music requires.  There are differences between the lower and higher end models within the CLP and CVP ranges. I would always recommend trying them out before you buy an instrument of this nature.

So thats it for now. In the next posting I will delve a little further into the differences between the different models in the CLP & CVP ranges and have a look at some of the basic functions.

Until then, make some noise!


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