Review: Yamaha's NU1 Hybrid
Yamaha's NU1 Hybrid: A Peek Under the Digital Hood
by Alden Skinner
Not having the deep pockets that would allow me to buy any piano I might desire, but still pursuing the best possible playing experience, I'm all about digital technology — and I'm a huge fan of hybrid pianos. How Yamaha's NU1 Hybrid sounds and feels to a pianist accustomed to playing acoustic pianos is the subject of a separate article. However, no review of a hybrid would be complete without a discussion of the features and technologies that are unique to digital instruments.
In 2010, Yamaha introduced a new breed of piano that combined the action of an acoustic grand with the sound production of a digital piano, plus tactile feedback systems and an active soundboard that further blurred the differences between the acoustic and digital playing experience. Now comprising three models, the company's AvantGrand line has seen solid success in the market. The logical extension of this line of grand-action–based models was the addition of a lower-priced version featuring a vertical-piano action — the NU1. (continued on page 52)
Side-by-Side Comparison: Yamaha's U1 Acoustic Upright and New NU1 Hybrid
by Rhonda Ringering
Since its introduction to the American piano market 50 years ago, Yamaha's 48" U1 upright has been a perennial favorite in both the new and used piano markets, and its consistency and reliability have given it pride of place in institutional and home settings. Yamaha's newest hybrid piano, the NU1, is a version of the U1 that blends acoustic and digital technologies.
In my work as a performer of the classical repertoire, the music of living composers, and some jazz, I perform and practice almost exclusively on acoustic grand pianos. I did most of my pre-college practicing, however, on the Yamaha U1 my parents purchased for me when I was eight years old. When, at Classic Pianos, in Portland, Oregon, I sat down and played the U1 provided for this comparison, I was pleased to hear that the model sounded more resonant than I remembered. I ran some scales and arpeggios to get reacquainted with the sound, touch, and pedals before I began my side-by-side comparison of it with the NU1. (continued on page 53)