An overview of Yamaha’s Clavinova piano range 2019



Yamaha are one of the major manufacturers of pianos in the world, so it’s no surprise that one of their model names - Clavinova - has almost become a generic term for electronic pianos in the way that Hoover is for domestic cleaning appliances.

This is well deserved, as Yamaha digital pianos are both well-made and feature rich, benefiting as they do from Yamaha’s long heritage and huge investment in research and development. In this article, we’re going to give you an overview of the current Yamaha Clavinova digital piano range.

Yamaha Clavinova pianos


The Clavinovas are the top end of Yamaha’s purely digital piano offering (I’m not counting the AvantGrande series, as these include acoustic components). Within the range, Kenny’s Music stock the CLP and CSP series.


The Clavinova CLP series


The Yamaha Clavinova CLP series are expressly designed to offer the sound quality and playability of an acoustic piano, but at a fraction of the price. Their synthetic ivory keys are renowned for giving you the feel of real ivory, but - critically - without the need to chop elephants tusks off, and all models in the series offer beautifully multisampled versions of two of the world’s most well-respected grand pianos: the Bosendorfer Imperial and the Yamaha CFX. This means some poor guy has sat in front of each of these amazing pianos and recorded every key at every different velocity. Considering an acoustic Bosendorfer Imperial can set you back nearly £100k, we’d say that’s a pretty good feature (and that guy deserves a pay rise).

Another feature shared by all the models in the series is what Yamaha call “CFX Binaural Sampling”. Jargon aside, what does this mean? It means that rather than recording the sounds of the Yamaha CFX grand piano with normal microphones, they used microphones attached to the head of a player in the correct playing position. In practice, what this means is that the sound of the piano on headphones is incredibly lifelike, mimicking as it does the effect of really sitting in front of a grand piano.

So, we know what all the CLP pianos have in common, but what differentiates them?

CLP625


An overview of Yamaha’s Clavinova piano range

The series starts with the CLP625, which improves on the budget Arius pianos in several ways. Firstly, there’s the aforementioned multisampling, synthetic ivory keys and binaural sound, but you also get more polyphony (meaning you can play more notes at once) and the lovely Graded Hammer 3X keyboard, which mimics the feel of an acoustic piano by offering lighter keys at the top and heavier at the bottom.

It also offers a pair of in-built speakers large enough to pump out a sound to rival that of an acoustic piano, and 10 very useable voices.

CLP635


An overview of Yamaha’s Clavinova piano range

The CLP635 is a CLP625 with several added features. The key ones in our eyes are firstly what Yamaha calls “Virtual Resonance Modelling”. This is a fancy algorithm to make the digital sound appear to come from a big wooden box - as it would if the piano were acoustic - and makes the sound more realistic and generally richer.

Secondly, the CLP635 features 36 voices (26 more than the CLP625) which make the instrument a lot more versatile if you want to stray away from just using a piano sound to strings, brass and more.

Thirdly, the CLP635 features an in-built 16-track recorder, meaning you can record all those voices on top of each other to create your own compositions - loads of fun!

The CLP635 also features bigger speakers again and offers two new colour variations: Dark Walnut and White Ash.

CLP645


An overview of Yamaha’s Clavinova piano range

Features-wise, the CLP645 is on a par with the CLP635. However, where it outshines its younger sibling is in the quality of the keyboard, the quality of the speaker system, and the addition of Bluetooth functionality.

The keyboard is made out of Yamaha’s “Natural Wood X”, meaning the keys are made out of real wood, rather than the synthetic substitute used in the CLP635 and CLP625, offering a more realistic feel and weight.

The speaker system is also enhanced with extra speakers, giving a more immersive and realistic sound (the sound from an acoustic piano comes out of the whole box, after all, so the closer you can get to that using speakers, the better).

A really nice addition, though, is Bluetooth Audio. Why do you need Bluetooth on a piano? Let me explain… If you’re going to have a huge box in your living room with in-built speakers, it makes sense to make the most out of it. Bluetooth Audio does this by enabling you to stream sound from your devices (such as iPhone or iPad) and have it come out of the piano. Whether it’s iTunes, Spotify or even YouTube, you can now listen to your music or movies properly through some high quality speakers, and even play along.

CLP675


An overview of Yamaha’s Clavinova piano range

The CLP675 is a bigger beast than the CLP645, with a taller cabinet. Aside from aesthetically, this is to house more speakers (a total of 6), offering a yet more immersive and realistic sound. This is also enhanced by the introduction of Yamaha’s top-end GrandTouch keyboard, and an improved hammer action, with the aim being to offer an experience as close as possible to playing a real grand piano as possible.

CLP685


An overview of Yamaha’s Clavinova piano range

Finally, we come to the jewel in the crown of the CLP series: the mighty CLP685. This features all the lovely stuff we’ve already talked about and more; a full Yamaha XG MIDI sound set (that’s 480 extra sounds for you to play with!), fully counterweighted keys (meaning they don’t just feel like acoustic piano keys; for all intents and purposes they are), and a classy acoustic upright piano design with a folding key cover.

Yamaha CLP Clavinova Comparison Table


OK, I tried my best to make that clear, but I realise it can be difficult to get your head around all of the improvements as you move up the range, so below is a table that should spell them out pretty clearly:

CLP625 CLP635 CLP645 CLP675 CLP685
Yamaha CFX and Bosendorfer Imperial piano sounds, binaural sampling, 10 voices, and two speakers. CLP625 features, but with Virtual Resonance Modelling, 36 voices, 16-track recording, and larger speakers. CLP635 features, but with improved Natural Wood X keyboard, more speakers, and Bluetooth audio connectivity. CLP645 features, but with GrandTouch keyboard, linear graded hammers, taller cabinet and more speakers (again). CLP675 features, but with a huge variety of sounds, counterweight keys, more and louder speakers, and a classy cabinet design.


The Clavinova CSP Series


The CSP series are in many ways identical to the CLP series, with the two models (the CSP150 and the CSP170) offering basically the same features as their equivalent CLP models (specifically the CLP635 and the CLP645).

However, the reason Yamaha chose to use a different consonant (woah) is because they’ve introduced a whole new dynamic… the CSP series are “Smart Pianos”.

What does this actually mean? It means they work best when used with smart devices such as iPads with the accompanying Smart Pianist app. This opens up all of the potential of the piano in terms of the many sounds contained within, but also displays scores that you can play along with. The killer feature, though, is that the notes that you’re meant to play are indicated by what Yamaha calls “Stream Lights”. These are little lights above the keys themselves to tell you exactly what to play. Neat!

To understand this technology a bit better, it’s worth watching Yamaha’s video explaining it:


The pianos themselves are extremely sleek with no unsightly buttons as most of the controlling comes from the app. Genius!

Summary


Yamaha Clavinovas offer a huge range of different features and navigating what will work best for your needs can be tricky. Hopefully this article has gone some way to clarifying any confusion you may have, but if you have any further questions or want to organise a demo in one of our stores, be sure to get in touch.


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Kenny's Music



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