AvantGrand All-Star Roundtable Costa Mesa CA

Yamaha's new AvantGrand digital piano is causing quite a stir. The company calls it a "hybrid" piano, and that's not just marketing hype. The hybrid approach was taken seriously by Yamaha even at the conceptualization and design stages of the Avant Grand, as it's the first Yamaha digital project on which the acoustic piano division of the company had equal input.

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AvantGrand All-Star Roundtable

Yamaha's new AvantGrand digital piano is causing quite a stir. The company calls it a "hybrid" piano, and that's not just marketing hype. Though it is multisamples--really, really, good multisamples--that form the core of its sound-generation technology, the cabinet, speakers, and what frequencies and samples go out which speakers, all do something that no digital piano has done before: They take ownership of what happens to the sound, and how it his the player and audience, after it leaves the piano.

Proving that force-feedback isn't just for racing video games, Yamaha also employs special resonators that transmit subtle vibrations throughout the keyboard and music rest areas.

The hybrid approach was taken seriously by Yamaha even at the conceptualization and design stages of the Avant Grand, as it's the first Yamaha digital project on which the acoustic piano division of the company had equal input.

Years of evaluating new musical gear has taught us that some wholes can indeed be more than the sum of their parts--but some can be less. So we had to investigate. We got together with Yamaha, booked out the legendary Village Recorders studio in Los Angeles, and put both N3 (baby grand) and N2 (upright) models of the AvantGrand in the same room as the very same Yamaha C7 acoustic grand on which albums such as Steely Dan's Aja and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours were recorded.

We then brought in four highly accomplished players to play, compare, and give their unvarnished opinions in real time: Joe Firstman , keyboardist and musical director on Last Call with Carson Daly; Mike Garson , pianist with David Bowie for all of Bowie's career, and a legendary jazz and neo-classical composer and improvisationist in his own right; Nicholas Pike , film composer musical director on The Bonnie Hunt Show, and last but not least, Randy Waldman , pianist and musical director for none other than Barbra Streisand.

Executive Editor Stephen Fortner moderates, and Yamaha national marketing director Mark Anderson is on hand to explain the technology as we go along. If you've been curious about the AvantGrand, don't miss these candid, informative, and exclusive videos.

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