A hybrid piano offering real piano feel – We put it through its paces in our Yamaha NU1 review
The Yamaha NU1 is the latest instrument in Yamaha ‘s range to be described as a hybrid piano. This takes the idea of combining true acoustic piano feel, with the convenience and practicality of a digital piano to new levels, much like Yamaha ‘s Avantgrand instruments, but at a significantly lower price. Designed an elegant, slim cabinet, it may well be the perfect solution for those for whom an acoustic piano is too big, or impractical.
We find out in our Yamaha NU1 review below.
The ultimate piano keyboard playing action
The hybrid piano not an entirely new concept (some of Yamah’s own early CP pianos could lay claim to the title, for example). It is only really in the last few years that the brand has, once again, started to develop products in this way, however, combining digital technology with elements of real acoustic piano design, for an altogether more authentic experience.
because of this approach, one of the defining features of the Yamaha NU1 is its keyboard. Digital pianos employ a number of techniques to ensure that their instruments’ keyboards are as authentic as possible, in terms of weighting and feel. This is achieved to varying degrees of success, from loose, light, a bit noisy and uneven, to tight, responsive and dynamic. The Yamaha NU1, however, is in a different league in this regard. Like the Avantgrand pianos, it doesn’t emulate an acoustic piano action. The NU1 features a real upright piano action, for the ultimate piano experience.
Of course, a superb keyboard action would be all but useless, unless the piano sound was of equal quality. Thankfully, the main concert grand piano sound featured on the Yamaha NU1 is meticulously sampled from Yamaha ‘s flagship CFX acoustic concert grand. In addition, it employs new technology developed by Yamaha to recreate the resonance felt when playing an acoustic piano. Four other high quality sounds also feature, along with an onboard reverb and song recorder.
The Yamaha NU1 is also designed to resemble an upright acoustic piano. Reminiscent of a ‘U’ series piano, the NU1 is slimmer, and smaller, though no less elegant.
Here are the Yamaha NU1 ‘s key features:
- Hybrid piano – combines elements of an acoustic piano, with digital piano technology
- Real upright piano keyboard action – employs a Yamaha acoustic piano keyboard action, for truly authentic feel
- Detailed, and dynamic piano sound – uses Yamaha ‘s cutting-edge CFX concert grant piano sample, with resonance simulation
- Slim, elegant, cabinet – styled on a Yamaha acoustic upright, the NU1 is smaller, but with the elegant appearance of an acoustic piano
To say that the NU1 provides an authentic playing experience is to undersell it by some distance. The keyboard feels just like an acoustic piano keyboard to the point that if you closed your eyes, you would most likely struggle to tell the difference between this and the real thing.
The connection between this and the on-board piano sound is impressive, to say the least. Often, this important connection between the player and the sound is a little bit overlooked, resulting in slight feeling of disconnection between the player and the resulting performance. Not so here. There’s a very immediate, and solid sense of strings being struck, which creates a very real sense of connected-ness which sometimes missing from digital instruments.
The CFX piano sound should also be singled out for praise. Full, and rich, it has the unique, gleaming tone for which Yamaha’s grands are noted. The attention to detail here is exceptional – sympathetic resonance behaves in unnervingly natural manner, there are no audible transitions or artifacts, and with 256-note polyphony, you can all but forget note drop-out.
Other included sounds are of a very high quality, though if I were to be picky, I’d say that (personally) I prefer Rhodes sounds to have little bit more growl and edge when played hard. It is a personal thing, though…
This is very much an instrument that is designed to be played as a piano, and so is light on additional features. However, it does have a MIDI/ Audio song recorder for capturing ideas and performances- very welcome.
There are few instruments to rival the NU1 for sheer authenticity: It feels and sounds incredible. More than anything else available, it provides an instrument that has all of the practicalities of a digital piano (volume control, headphones) without sacrificing the feel of an acoustic piano in any way.
The Yamaha NU1 is the most affordable hybrid piano in Yamaha ‘s range, but still as responsive and authentic to play as its more expensive siblings. Astonishing stuff.
Order online here, or for more information, call our stores or customer service team (01925 582420).