Yamaha AvantGrand Recreates Experience of $125k 9-Foot Concert Piano - At a Fraction of the Cost

10/30/2009 [Pianos & Keyboards]

Groundbreaking Instruments Feature Exquisite Craftsmanship, Space-Saving Options and Never Go Out of Tune

Yamaha AvantGrand Hybrid Piano
Yamaha AvantGrand Hybrid Piano
BUENA PARK, Calif.—Yamaha Corporation of America is now shipping the AvantGrand, the world's first "hybrid" piano that digitally simulates the sound, as well as the physical experience of playing a fine $125,000 concert grand piano—at a fraction of the cost, size and weight.

Now available in two contemporary styles—the N3 grand and N2 upright—the AvantGrand pianos feature exquisite craftsmanship, cabinetry and detailing, while offering a highly-affordable, space-saving option to music lovers who have dreamt of owning and playing the ultimate concert grand in their homes.

"Instruments that can digitally approximate the sound of an acoustic piano are hardly a new concept," says Paul Calvin of Yamaha. "AvantGrand is an entirely new direction for the piano, and represented a daunting challenge to our highly-talented craftsmen and engineers: how do you build an instrument that offers the same touch, tone and most important, emotional connection of the finest nine-foot concert grand piano, that is a mere fraction of the cost, less than half the size and doesn't need tuning?"

To realize these goals, Yamaha examined everything down to the smallest detail—from an entirely new method used to sample and recreate a piano sound comparable to a true acoustic grand, to the keyboard and pedals that provide the physical connection to the pianist. On the AvantGrand N3, for example, four speakers are strategically located in the same positions as the four microphones used to sample the source instrument and two resonators reproduce the buildup of sound that a pianist hears and feels. Additionally, an array of actuators (switches) make the keys vibrate, just as they normally would on a true acoustic piano.

Finally, the foot pedal action became subject to Yamaha's demanding criteria. In traditional pianos, resistance is created in proportion to how deep the pedal is depressed. To replicate this, Yamaha created a specialized grand piano pedal for the AvantGrand N3 that reproduces the finesse of acoustic pedals, duplicating the spring, friction and inertia of traditional pedals.

The AvantGrand offers several advantages over its acoustic counterpart, including the ability to be played at low volumes or in silence with headphones, a recording and playback capability, as well as a variety of sounds, including grand piano, electric piano and harpsichord.

According to jazz legend Chick Corea, the AvantGrand "blew me away. I sat down and adjusted the volume to make it sound like a big piano and immediately went into reverence at the R&D department and how they pulled it off, because it's quite an accomplishment."

The instrument is available at authorized Yamaha piano retailers nationwide. A matching padded bench is included.

For more information on the Yamaha AvantGrand Piano, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Keyboard Division, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail infostation@yamaha.com; or visit www.avant-grand.com.

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