Yamaha Clavinovas - CVP & CLP - Digital Pianos

Yamaha Clavinovas - Digital Pianos

There are so many digital pianos on the market nowadays. It seems like every brand is into manufacturing them. But really and truly most of them leave much to be desired and are simply a waste of money. As far as being good substitutes for acoustic pianos these so called 'digital pianos' fail miserably. They simply do not have the touch, feel, and sound of acoustics. They fail to capture the important nuances that make the acoustic piano what it is. Have you ever heard a digital piano voice that actually sounded like a guitar being plucked? If you have, you know what I'm talking about. No matter how much of a player you are it will make you sound like crap.

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But this is where Yamaha Clavinovas come in. The two features that make them such impressive and worthy instruments would have to be a feature called "Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) Dynamic Stereo Sampling", and another called "Graded Hammer Effect".

AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) Dynamic Stereo Sampling is a sampling system which creates a sound similar to that of an acoustic instrument. Yamaha uses digital technology to record the acoustic instrument and they apply high-quality digital filter technology to the recorded audio samples. On an acoustic piano, you get varying waveforms according to how hard or soft you strike the keys. So how is this replicated on Yamaha Clavinovas? They record samples of various playing strengths (from pianissimo to fortissimo). Clearly, the more samples that are recorded at different playing strengths, the higher the expressive potential of the instrument. In addition, the piano is separately sampled with its sustain pedal down. When you want the expressiveness of a real acoustic piano, AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) Dynamic Stereo Sampling is a must. And today's Yamaha Clavinovas have got just what you're looking for.

Then, as said earlier, there's a feature called Graded Hammer Effect. Don't buy any digital piano that doesn't come with this important feature. Any digital piano that is of worth must have weighted keys. On an acoustic piano, keys in the lower registers have a heavier touch than those in the upper. If you take a look under the lid of an acoustic you will see different-sized hammers, getting smaller as you move up the range. Well, Yamaha Clavinovas are designed so that they are heavier in the bass and lighter in the higher ranges just like an acoustic piano. This feature is a must-have when it comes to digital pianos.

How to choose

With so many Yamaha Clavinovas on the market, how do you know what to choose? Well first of all, narrow down your choice between the CVP and CLP series.

Yamaha Clavinova CLP digital piano

If your interest lies mainly in the two features mentioned above, namely, Dynamic Stereo Sampling Advanced Wave Memory tone generation and Graded Hammer Effect, and you do not want a whole host of extra features, you look into buying a Yamaha CLP. Most CLP digital pianos come with a limited number of voices such as pianos, electric pianos, strings, vibraphones, harpsichords, organs, and basses. Also, they do not have many recording capabilities. Although you can hook them up to a computer via a MIDI/USB patch cable and record on your computer as much as you like. The CLP series is great for musicians focusing on the piano itself and who do not want all the distractions that all the extra features can generate. It's pointless paying for features that you have no need for?

Yamaha CVP digital piano

Then there's the Yamaha CVP series. And with this series come a great number of features. I could go on and on listing the many incredible features that these CVP Yamaha Clavinovas come with but for the purpose of this article and in the interest of time and space I shall list some of my favorites. We've already looked at Advanced Wave Memory (AWM) Dynamic Stereo Sampling, and Graded Hammer Effect, so let's talk about some of the other great features that today's best Yamaha CVP digital pianos come with.

USB Audio Recorder

With this feature, you can record your performance as audio data directly to a USB storage device such as a thumb drive or memory stick. In addition to your keyboard playing you can even record your voice, guitar or another instrument on your CVP digital piano. And since CVPs come with many different Styles, you can use that to accompany your performance. The best ones comes with 16 track MIDI recorders, allowing you to record songs on your instrument. You can use these recorded songs as well, to accompany your performance. I must say that this is a very powerful feature. It makes it very easy to transfer recordings to your computer. You can then share your music with friends via email, record your music on CD, upload it to a website, or whatever you feel like.

16 Track Recording

If you're a songwriter or composer, you will absolutely love the 16-track recording capabilities of the Yamaha Clavinovas CVP series. While the CLP series usually come with 2 track sequencers, CVPs can have as many as 16 tracks. Personally, I've always loved this particular feature. This is what helped me develop my arranging and composing skills right from the start. I remember how delighted I was the first time I had access to a keyboard that I was able to do some sequencing on. Well the first keyboard I sequenced on, I was perhaps only able to record two or three tracks, but you can imagine how thrilled I was to have one that could record as many as 16 tracks. One like today's Yamaha Clavinovas (CVP series). You can record unto the CVP's internal memory, as well as to floppy disks and SmartMedia cards on some models.

Accompaniment Styles

This has also been another of my favorite features. The accompaniment feature was responsible for introducing me to a wide range of music styles and genres. That I am truly thankful for. The Auto Accompaniment and Style playback features of Yamaha Clavinovas automatically produce full backing parts that you can play along with and perform over. This feature splits your keyboard into two allowing you to change chords with the left hand and play parts with the right hand. It's like being able to control an entire band with one hand. An accompaniment style can include drums, bass, piano, brass, strings and so much more playing simultaneously. The various styles on Yamaha Clavinovas encompass virtually every musical genre. Several realistic voices are used to create authentic and dynamic accompaniments that make you sound truly professional. The various Intros, Endings and Main progressions make your music sound very real and live. The accompaniment styles feature is a great feature, particularly if you're into playing as a one-man-band or duo.


Yamaha CVP digital pianos come with hundreds upon hundreds of authentic, powerful and dynamic voices. With so many instruments built into these Yamaha Clavinovas, you will always have the right voice to perform with. It really doesn't matter what type of music you play. In addition, many of them come with Super Articulation Voices, and Mega Voices. If you're looking for the best in sonic realism and expressiveness, you can't go wrong. The unique performance characteristics of each instrument is incorporated in the various Super Articulation Voices. If you need a wide variety of realistic acoustic instruments, this is it. You can use the various Mega Voices for recording purposes. Various playing techniques and performance sounds like finger slides and fret noises can be used to enhance the playback of your recorded songs and built-in accompaniment styles. I really like this feature. Truly powerful!

LCD Display

Another one of my favorites would have to be a large LCD display. Unlike Yamaha CLP digital pianos, all CVPs come with an LCD display. Personally, the larger the better. Some of them come with extra-large LCDS and include full color. You can get a complete, at-a-glance view of all main settings and this makes operation wonderfully easy.


Many pianists and keyboard players are choosing Yamaha clavinovas over other types of digital pianos. But the choice is yours. Do your research and decide what is right for you. There is a wide range to choose from online. It all depends on your specific preferences. You can choose between the CLP clavinova series and the CVP clavinova series.

It's no longer absolutely necessary to dish out a large amount of money to buy a grand piano. It's true that nothing beats the real thing. Nothing can compare to a real acoustic piano. But for those of us who can't afford it or simply do not want to dish out so much money, Yamaha clavinovas will do. More and more professional pianists are choosing this option. If you want the feel and touch of acoustic grand pianos but you don't want to spend a fortune, consider getting a Clavinova.

The Yamaha CVP Clavinova series includes the Yamaha CVP401, CVP403, CVP405, CVP407, CVP409, CVP-309GP, CVP-301, CVP-301C, CVP-303, CVP-303C, CVP-303M, CVP-305, CVP-305C, CVP-305M, CVP-307C, CVP-307M, CVP-309PE, and CVP-309PM. The Yamaha CLP clavinova series includes the Yamaha CLP-220, CLP-230, CLP-240, CLP-270, CLP-280, CLP-265GP, CLP-295GP, and CLP175. These Yamaha Clavinovas come in several finishes. There's mahogany, polished mahogany, rosewood and ebony. They also come in several styles. So no matter what your preferences are, you should be able to find a suitable Clavinova piano easily.

You can choose to buy a Clavinova from your favorite local musical instrument store or you can buy one online from the comfort of your home or office. It's up to you. Be sure to read reviews so as to decide which one is right for you. Customer reviews go a long way in letting you know what customers think of different Yamaha Clavinovas. They will help you make a more informed decision. You may want to compare Clavinovas with various Yamaha digital pianos before choosing.

Nothing beats the real thing!

Finally, despite all the good things I've said about Yamaha Clavinovas, I must repeat that nothing beats a real piano. Nothing can match the "soul" of an acoustic. It's true that Yamaha Clavinovas and digital pianos have their advantages, including the fact that they're considerably cheaper and they take up less space. But they just don't have the same uniqueness to them. Nothing beats the real thing. Learn about the advantages and drawbacks of digital pianos versus acoustic pianos here.

Yamaha Clavinovas

Yamaha CVP and CLP Pros

A brief look at the Yamaha CVP and CLP Clavinova digital pianos

Yamaha CVP Piano Video

How to Open the Yamaha Clavinova PF P-100 for Repairs

Ask Yamaha CLP related questions.

Ask Yamaha CVP related questions.

Return to Yamaha Keyboard Review Homepage.

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