As music enthusiasts at Yamaha Musician.com, it has been our experience of the Yamaha Corporation to design some of the finest digital pianos on the market. It shouldn't be of any surprise that the Yamaha Clavinova is regarded as one of the most popular home digital pianos in the world. From its extensive sound and song libraries, graded hammer (GH3) technology, and, user-friendly interface in an attractive solid-wood cabinet design, it is sure to please even the most demanding of musicians.
To start off, the Clavinova CVP-305 is an all-in-one digital piano, piano teacher and back-up band without the annoying teacher and flaky band members. The CVP-305 is an 88-weighted key, graded hammer (GH3) keyboard, with 128-voice polyphony, 800+ sound programs, 300+ effect programs, 500+ accompaniment styles, a 16-track sequencer, powered by two 40W speakers, and, brilliantly displayed on a 320 x 240 color LCD screen. That's just scratching the surface.
Since there were over 800 different sound programs to toy with, we will just highlight the sounds that caught our attention. When it comes to sounds, the CVP-305 delivers. Every conceivable acoustic instrument awaits your finger tips. The sounds are arranged into 14 different categories (including the organ-flutes category). Obviously, a Clavinova wouldn't be a Clavinova without its piano sounds. In the Piano category, we really enjoyed the GrandPiano1 program. It was pretty expressive and natural sounding. The other piano programs either sounded too muffled or too bright for our tastes. While playing the piano, pressing the sostenuto pedal (left most pedal) produced a much warmer and softer tone...very impressive. The French horns, tenor saxes, flutes, oboes took our breath away! We were amazed with the realistic breathiness and vibrato the tenor sax and flutes had to offer. The guitars, strings, and organs, too, caught our ears. With all the features that Yamaha put into the CVP 300 series Clavinovas, we wished they would have included a pitch and mod wheel and aftertouch for more expression but, we kept on reminding ourselves that this is a home digital piano, not a studio synth!
Graded Hammer (GH3) Technology
The keys felt quite solid and firm with a piano touch and feel. Yamaha accomplishes this with their Graded Hammer (GH3) technology. It mimics the touch and responsiveness of a real piano by having a heavier touch on the bass portion of the keyboard and becoming progressively lighter going up the treble region.
Say Goodbye to Your Piano Teacher
The days of getting slapped with a ruler by your piano teacher are now over. Say you or your kids want to learn the piano. The CVP-305 will teach you how to play any song you have loaded in and display the music score to teach you how to read. This is done by teaching you both the left and right hand parts separately. The CVP-305 guides you thru this by lighting the LED that's above the intended key waiting for you to press it before moving on to the next key. The CVP-305 comes pre-loaded with 120 songs from the factory. We really liked this feature because it made learning new songs such as, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" fun and easy.
We found this feature to be useful and straightforward. Just press the STYLE SELECT button, select a style, press the ACMP ON/OFF button, then the SYNC START button to have the Clavinova wait for your cue to start accompanying you.
The CVP-305 has a Karaoke mode displaying the lyrics and score for you even adding harmony and effects to your voice as you're singing. We didn't dare try out this feature since no one was brave enough (drunk enough) to sing a decent tune but, we're sure the CVP-305 would be the center of attention at a karaoke party. The Clavinova CVP-305 also has a 16-track sequencer, mixing console, sound editor, USB connectivity, and SmartMedia compatibility to round off its features.
You can also update your Clavinova, expand your musical repertoire and styles by directly connecting to the Internet. The CVP-305 has internet connectivity for downloading additional song data, product updates, and other types of data such as the latest pop song or jazz standard arrangements for your enjoyment. Courtesy of Yamaha, you can download their free software called Digital Music Notebook. It's used to organize your songs, print sheet music, and transfer them to the Clavinova. This kind of support and expandability impressed us; however, we found the average price of $7.95 per song to be a bit on the pricy side.
We also loved the Dark Rosewood, Mahogany, and Cherry wood trim options available adding to the look of a real console piano. The CVP-305's interface folds down as a key cover and the brass badge on the music stand complete the Clavinova look.
We absolutely fell in love with this digital piano. From the abundance of songs, sounds, and styles, to the natural look and feel of the piano, its expandability, ease of use, support, and graphical user interface—the CVP-305 has it all, but, it isn't perfect—the speakers are a bit on the puny side, and it certainly isn't cheap at a price tag of around $8,000. However, if you compare that to the cost of an acoustic piano with regular maintenance, and tuning intervals, that price tag suddenly becomes digestible.
If you are looking for an enjoyable, sophisticated, and, reliable digital piano that the whole family can easily use and grow with, the Clavinova CVP-305 is an excellent choice.