I’ve had several people tell me that they would love to purchase a digital piano, but they don’t want to take the time to compare digital pianos or research digital piano prices. That’s understandable; there are so many digital pianos on the market today that comparing pianos could be a full-time endeavor.
As we review the Yamaha CVP 701, it’s worth noting that I am a Clavinova superfan through and through. The only other digital piano I’ve found that I like a bit better than the Clavinovas is the Yamaha NU1X hybrid piano, and it just barely nudges out the Clavinovas.
So, in this Yamaha CVP 701 review, I’ll discuss what this instrument offers potential buyers, as well as directly compare it to the Yamaha CLP 645 and CLP 675.
What the Yamaha CVP 701 Offers
The CVP line of Yamaha digital pianos is well-represented by the CVP 701, the only 700 series of Clavinovas still offered by the company. (The 800 series is being manufactured but hasn’t been released to the public as of September 2019.)
This Clavinova features a great number of ‘bells and whistle’s’, as do all of the higher series of Clavinovas. It even looks quite different from the CLP line of Clavinovas, as you can see from the photograph above.
As you can tell, this piano displays a multitude of buttons providing access to its many features. The display screen is larger, as well, at 4.3 inches wide.
This generous touch screen allows complete control of the voices, accompaniment styles, tempos of the accompaniment styles, and so many other features of the CVP 701.
The buttons on the left hand and right hand sides of the screen also give the musician plenty of options on this piano.
These control panels and touch screen provide simple and immediate access to the voice and recording features of the CVP 701. And voices it certainly has! The 701 model offers more than 770 voices and 29 drum and SFX kits. It also features more than preset 300 accompaniment styles.
For an arranger or composer, this piano allows the musician to tweak the voices for the exact sound that the musician prefers. With its 2.8 mb internal memory and its external USB capability, the options for recording are virtually endless. The CVP 701 becomes a composer’s and arranger’s dream instrument!
This piano also features integrated 3-pedal technology that supports half pedaling, as do the other Clavinova pianos. It allows a beginning student to utilize follow lights that show the student which keys to play as they learn. For the visually oriented student, this feature could become the most valuable feature of the piano, at least until the beginner becomes more accomplished at the piano.
Below, check out some of the best selling digital pianos on Amazon, and see how well they stack up to the Yamaha CVP 701:
|1) Yamaha P-515|
|2) Casio PX-870|
|3) Roland F-140|
|4) Yamaha YDP-164|
|5) Yamaha YDP-184|
Yamaha CVP 701 vs Yamaha CLP 645
I’ll start with the Yamaha Clavinova CLP 645. This is not the least expensive of the Clavinova line, but it’s close. Only the CLP 635 and CLP 625 are less expensive; they both retail for about $2,000. The 645 retails for about $4,000, but it offers more than either one of the lesser Clavinovas. More about prices later.
This instrument offers four cabinetry colors to choose from: polished ebony, matte black, dark walnut, and rosewood (I like the rosewood myself, but that’s just my humble opinion). Probably the most striking of all four cabinets is the polished ebony; it resembles the finish of some of Yamaha’s finest grand pianos, including the fabulous concert grand, the CFX.
The CLP 645, like all the Clavinovas, offers the piano sounds of the CFX concert grand and the majestic Bosendorfer Imperial. (Bosendorfer is considered one of the finest European brands of grand piano.) If you listen to the clip, you can hear that the CLP 645 has a beautiful, sparkling high end of sound, and the bass tones are rich and clear as well. This sound is common on all of the Clavinovas—one of the reasons I love these pianos.
The CLP 645 keyboard is cut from the finest wood possible, dried and set aside for fine keyboard instruments. These Natural Wood X keyboards offer comfort to the touch and a feel of authentic wooden keys. It features the same action and 3-sensor configuration of other Clavinovas, providing a lighter touch on the upper keys that gradually increases and you move down the keyboard toward the bass keys.
The CLP 645 provides synthetic ebony and ivory keytops for playing comfort, regardless of how long you choose to play the piano. It also offers full body resonance that emulates the resonance of acoustic grand pianos.
The CLP 645 also interacts with the Yamaha Smart Pianist app on any Smart iOS device. Your device will also help you control the functions of the CLP 645 so you can receive all that this piano offers.
Yamaha CVP 701 vs Yamaha CLP 675
The Yamaha CLP 675 offers all of the same features as the CLP 645, and just a bit more. Through its Grand Touch keyboard action, Yamaha has managed to reproduce the authentic touch of a grand piano with all its shadings and variations.
One of the most significant differences between digital pianos and grand pianos has always been the touch of the instruments: grand piano keys have a light feel when the piano is played gently and a heavier feel as more weight is transmitted to the keys.
Digital pianos of the past tended to have the same touch no matter where you played on their keyboards, making a significant difference in the way musicians approach passages in their music requiring more distinction between loud and soft passages.
Yamaha studied this problem and found a way to maximize the touch distinctions in their digital pianos. This Grand Touch keyboard gives the CLP 675 more responsiveness and the ability to produce delicate shadings of sound, as well as big booming passages of sound.
The CLP 675 also interacts with your Smart iOS device to give you greater access to all of the features offered in this piano. Through the Smart Pianist app, this instrument becomes a virtual recording studio in your home, with overdubbing capabilities and access to over 30 digitally sampled instrument voices. This instrument is capable of storing up to 250 songs of your own arrangement or composition.
As you can see from the photograph above, the Yamaha CLP 675 greatly resembles the CLP 645; the only physical difference is the music stand, which is wider on the CLP 675.
Both instruments have three integrated pedals and both pianos are capable of half-pedaling, a technique used in more challenging classical music. They have the same control panels on the right- and left-hand sides which allow you to access some of the piano’s functions.
Analysis of Notable Features
The Clavinova CLP 645 and 675 offer very similar features as they are in the CLP line of Clavinovas. They resemble more traditional pianos in appearances, yet they offer some of the state-of-the-art features offered by Yamaha and their digital pianos. With the cleaner visual lines, they can easily fit within any décor.
Only the small control panel on the left-hand side of the pianos indicate that they are not spinet acoustic pianos, unless the headphones are plugged into the machines. (Headphones are clear indications that these pianos are digital, since acoustic pianos don’t support headphone use.)
The CLP 645 and 675 also interact with Yamaha’s Smart Pianist app for iOS devices. This feature is not supported at this time for Android devices on the CLP Clavinovas and is only fully supported on the CSP 150 or 170 pianos at this time.
The CVP 701 does not use the Smart Pianist app. It does, however, utilize several other apps provided through the app stores for your device: Chord Tracker, MusicSoft Manager, NoteStar, Piano Diary, Repertoire Finder, and Visual Performer. I’m not 100% familiar with all of these apps; however, from what I can ascertain, they are similar to Smart Pianist in functions.
The CVP 701 looks more like a synthesizer than a digital piano, but it offers a much richer piano sound and more authentic instrument sounds (other than piano) than most synthesizers. It certainly is NOT a portable instrument as most synthesizers tend to be but is designed to be a permanent staple in your music room or whichever room you choose for it to occupy. It is an attractive and modern accessory to any room in your home or apartment.
The primary differences between the CLP 645 and 675 and the CVP 701 include the number of voices offered: the CLP 645 and the 675 both offer 36 preset voices. The CVP 701 offers many more preset voices at 770. It also offers a significant number of preset accompaniment styles. It seems clear that this piano is much more suited for composers and arrangers than either of the CLP instruments.
Analysis of the Prices
The Yamaha CLP 645 is one of the mid-range pianos in the Yamaha ‘stable.’ This piano retails for about $4,600, but it can be purchased online for about $4,000. (Most Yamaha dealers are aware of the online price differential and will work with you on the price.)
The CLP 675 retails for about $5,200 but is available online for about $4,700. The only significant difference between the CLP 645 and the CLP 675 appears to be their speaker system. The CLP 645 offers four speakers at 25 watts each. The CLP 675 offers two 50 watt speakers, two 35 watt speakers, and two 20 watt speakers.
Obviously, the difference in sound is significant since the CLP 675 carries many more speakers and wattage. For a beginning student, however, I don’t believe the difference in sound is worth the difference in cost.
The CVP 701 retails for about $6,200 but is available online for about $4,800. This seems to be a significant savings and puts the much more heavily equipped CVP 701 in the same general price range of the CLP 675. The 701 doesn’t have the speaker wattage of the CLP 675, but I think it more than compensates for the lack of speaker power with its significantly greater number of voice and accompaniment presets.
Overall, I would give the CLP 645 4 out of 5 stars, especially for a beginning pianist.
The CLP 675 receives 3.75 stars out of 5 because the increase in price over the 645 isn’t justified for a beginner in my mind. I’m not sure even an intermediate pianist would want to spend that much extra money for just more speaker power.
The CVP 701 receives 4.75 stars out of 5. I would give it 5 of 5 if it looked more like a traditional piano, but if its appearance isn’t that important to you, then this is my preferred piano of these three by all means. It is suitable for a beginner through advanced student and for a piano teacher as well, with its intriguing features that would likely keep any level student interested and engaged.
This article was written by Digital Piano Review Guide contributor Anita Elliott.
NOTE: In this article, I took photos of digital pianos at my Local Piano Store (LPS), the Piano Gallery of Murray, Utah. Two of their piano specialists, Dave and Mike, graciously allowed me to come into their very large showroom multiple times and play all of the digital pianos they have onsite…which is quite a few! Shout out to these guys and Piano Gallery.
Lastly, it should also be noted that Yamaha has recently rolled out the CVP 800 series, with pianos like the Yamaha CVP 805 and Yamaha CVP 809 in the lineup. If you’re interested in what these particular Clavinovas offer, be sure to check out the video below:
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