Yamaha N3 Piano Review

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We rated the Yamaha N3 piano a 9.8/10. This hybrid digital piano is part of the Avant Grand series. These pianos make great substitutes for acoustic grands if one doesn’t have the space for one. The action on the N3 is buttery, and we were impressed with many of the other features as well, including the tactile response system, speakers, and high-quality pedals. But because this instrument has just 5 sounds, it won’t suit all serious pianists. However, it does a great job at meeting the needs of many classical players.

We rated the Yamaha N3 piano a 9.8/10. This hybrid digital piano is part of the Avant Grand series. These pianos make great substitutes for acoustic grands if one doesn’t have the space for one. The action on the N3 is buttery, and we were impressed with many of the other features as well, including the tactile response system, speakers, and high-quality pedals. But because this instrument has just 5 sounds, it won’t suit all serious pianists. However, it does a great job at meeting the needs of many classical players.


Yamaha N3 review

The Yamaha N3 is the top-of-the-line hybrid Avant Grand piano series of pianos designed for discerning pianists who need a digital rather than an acoustic for some reason. This may be that they live in an apartment and don’t have room for a real grand piano, maybe they have neighbors and don’t want to disturb them, or maybe they need an extra practice instrument in their home. It’s absolutely possible that they might consider this very high-quality digital piano for performing too. As the fourth – and top – piano in the range, this one has the biggest size and the biggest sound of all of them and could fill a concert hall with its impressive speaker output of 500W.  

The piano is four feet deep and shaped approximately like a grand. However, for a grand piano, this is extremely small. It is, in fact, smaller than a baby grand. This is designed so that you can fit it in an average size living room while still producing a big sound. But you still have a volume control button and you can of course use headphones if you want to practice privately or late at night.  

The more scope for the output you have on a digital piano, the more dynamics you’ll have to express yourself when you play. Fortunately, this piano also has excellent action and feel to the keys to go along with that, so you feel in control as you play. 


The pianos in the Avant Grand series have an actual weighted wooden piano action inside. The sound is produced with sensors rather than strings, but the feel of the keys is very convincing. The tops of the keys are made of “Ivorite” so that it’s comfortable under the fingers.  Smooth plastic keys (such as the ones on the NU1X) are prone to getting slippery.  

The NU1X has an upright piano action while the N2 and N3 both grand piano action. The difference is that the grand piano action lays flat while the upright stands up.    

All Avant Grand pianos benefit from a “soft close” lid. This is fantastic if you have children. A piano lid can fall suddenly with quite a lot of force, putting little fingers and hands at risk, so this is a real plus in my book. The Yamaha N3 has the added advantage that you can adjust the angle of the music rest which can be very useful.  


The sound of the original Yamaha CFX concert grand piano has been deeply sampled from four different directions: left, right, center and rear. This is reconstructed during live play from the 16 speakers placed strategically throughout the Yamaha N3. With a total of 500W, it’s probably more volume and scope than any pianist would need. I would imagine you’d never put the volume level past the halfway mark unless you were in a hall.  

Like the N2, the Yamaha N3 includes the Tactile Response System (TRS) which replicates the vibration a pianist feels from the piano while they are playing. Yamaha has achieved this by placing four transducers (loudspeakers) into the soundboard underneath the keyboard. This sends a natural-feeling vibration through the piano which feeds into the pianists’ hands for a very realistic feeling, very like playing an acoustic piano. The TRS system can be adjusted or even turned off and also works if you’re using headphones. 

The N3 comes with five voices. The second piano has different qualities from the Yamaha CFX acoustic (Piano 1). The Yamaha CFX could be considered more suitable for classical piano music while Piano 2 might be more suitable for contemporary piano music and pop. However, this is very subjective and all pianists have their own favorites. 

Once you’ve selected your preferred piano sound you can change the reverb to suit your needs or mood. 

All the Avant Grand series pianos come with binaural surround sound which kicks in when you plug in the headphones. This gives you the sense of the sound being all around you rather than just coming from each ear and it’s easy to forget that you’re wearing headphones.  



While the NU1X has 15 onboard voices, the N2 and N3 both only have 5 instrument sounds. These are Grand Piano 1 and 2, Electric Piano 1 and 2, and a Harpsichord. Each voice has its own demo song. 

Like the N2, the focus is definitely less on multiple selections of voices and features and more on the sound and feel, making it a real contender for serious pianists.  

If you are looking for a piano with a bigger selection of voices, the NUX1 comes with fifteen voices, including the Studio Grand, Ballad Grand, Upright, Stage Electric, DX electric, vintage electric, two harpsichords, celesta, three types of organ and a piano and string mix. The keyboard feels about the same, but the sound isn’t as big or as deep. 

Adjusting the level of VRM (Virtual Resonance Modelling) 

The instrument voices on the Yamaha N3 have a default setting of “VRM on” so you get the full impact of the deep sampling of the original.  However, you can change elements of it:

  • Damper Resonance Depth: 0 – 10 (default setting is 5). This affects the sound when you use the damper pedal.  
  • String Resonance Depth: 0 -10 (default setting is 5). This relates to the effect heard when playing the keyboard.  
  • Aliquot Resonance Depth: 0 – 10 (default setting is 5). This affects the amount of sympathetic resonance from the very top notes of the piano which are never damped (even on an acoustic piano) and therefore vibrate freely with every note played. 
  • Body Resonance Depth: 0 – 10 (default setting is 5). This changes the amount of resonance from the actual case of the piano.  

Preset songs 

There are ten preset classical songs to listen to and play along with on the N3. It also has five demo songs, each one to demonstrate the voice. They include Un Sospiro by Franz Liszt to demo the main grand piano sound and Concerto a cembalo obbligato, 2 violini, viola e continuo No.7, BWV.1058 by Bach to demo the harpsichord. The other voices are demonstrated with original pieces composed for Yamaha. You can change the speed of playback and you can play along with them if you like. 

It’s a shame that this lovely piano doesn’t come with a great deal more preset songs as it’s really lovely to be able to use this as a source of music in your home. Just for reference, the NU1X comes with 50 preset classical piano pieces that are well known. You can play songs from the USB flash drive but it seems odd that they wouldn’t be on board. 


You can record one song on the Yamaha N3 (1 track only) (same on the N2, but up to 10 songs on the NU1X). You can then copy and store the song using the USB flash drive jack.   


The N3 speaker system packs a massive punch. Made up of 22W x 10 + 30W x 4 + 80W x 2. The speakers are positioned on the piano to give the best replication of sitting at the original acoustic piano. The power of the speakers gives the piano a really great scope for the contrast between soft and loud playing. The speakers are of excellent quality and have more volume than you could ever need. 

Reverb and effects 

The reverb can be turned on and off very easily. It can also be altered from 0 – 20 depth. Holding the Reverb button down will make the setting show up on the LCD screen. The default setting depends on the selected voice and any changes will be lost when the power is turned off. 


The N3 can transpose from – 6 to +6 in semitone increments. This can be very useful if you’re accompanying a singer and they want to try different keys. You can still play all the notes you have learned, or read on the sheet music, but it will sound in a different key. For instance, if you’re playing a song in the key of G and it feels too high for the singer, you can transpose down two semitones, and play the exact same notes, but it will play in the key of F.  

The transposition function is reset once the power is turned off.  

Fine Tuning 

Fine-tuning can be used to detune the piano in tiny increments. This can be useful if you’re playing with a recording that isn’t quite in tune with your piano or playing with another performer who is playing an instrument that doesn’t quite get in tune. The setting range is 414.8–466.8Hz (=A3) Default setting: 440.0Hz (=A3). The fine-tuning selection stays in place after the power is turned off. 

Scale tuning 

The Yamaha N3 piano has seven different tunings to choose from – as do all Avant Grand pianos. These are Equal, Pure Major, Pure Minor, Pythagorean, Mean-tone, Werckmeister, and Kimberger. The Equal tuning is what we hear every day and the default. The Werckmeister and Kimberger tunings were used mostly in the baroque era and gives a true sound of music of Bach when using the harpsichord particularly. If you play in these additional tunings, you need to select the key that you’ll be playing in. The user manual shows you how to do this. 


There is a metronome button to quickly start and stop. You can choose which beat you want an accent on (accented with a bell sound) by holding down the metronome button and pressing a specific key on the keyboard. This corresponds to your time signature. You can also have no accent, which can be useful for playing repeated sections that aren’t necessarily starting on the down-beat. No accent is the default setting. The default is reset whenever the power is turned off.  

The volume can be adjusted in the same way – holding down the metronome button and pressing a certain key on the keyboard. The setting can be from 1 to 20 with the default being 15. 

The speed or “tempo” can be changed by pressing the plus or minus key. The tempo settings go from 5 to 500 bpm. Most pianists I know play multiple notes per click at high speeds rather than set the metronome to a really high number, but maybe some like to play one note per click at a really high speed. You certainly have the option with this one. The default setting is 120 which is an average speed. 


You can use the speakers from the Yamaha N3 to play music from a portable audio player using the portable audio player’s headphone jack connected to the AUX IN jack on the piano.  

You can use the L/L+R, and R jacks to connect alternative speakers. 

The MIDI IN and OUT jacks require MIDI cables which are widely available. You can use these to connect other MIDI devices to the piano, such as another keyboard or synthesizer. 

Connect the piano to a computer using the USB to HOST connection. This will allow you to use the piano to record into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and use recording software such as Pro Tools, Cubase, or Garageband. 

Strangely, neither the Yamaha N2 nor the N3 has Bluetooth. With the enormous speaker configuration here it would make sense to be able to play MP3s from devices through these pianos. As stated above, you can use auxiliary jacks. Only the NU1X has Bluetooth. Perhaps more evidence that this piano is more geared toward serious pianists.  


The Yamaha N3 comes with a 3-pedal set built into it. The pedals are high quality and feel just like the pedals you would find on an acoustic piano.  

The far right pedal is the “Damper” or “Sustain” pedal and is the most used. Experienced piano players will place their right foot over this pedal without even thinking. 

The pianos in the Avant Grand range come with a specially designed pedal so that you can interact with the amount of sustain even more exactly how the pedal on a grand piano would feel. It offers “half-pedal” action, which means you have control over how much sustain there is on any given notes you play. (On many keyboards you have a separate sustain pedal that you plug into the “damper” jack but they rarely give such a realistic pedal feel).

The middle pedal’s name is the “Sostenuto”. This is similar to the damper (or sustain) pedal except that it only sustains the notes you play at the time you activate the pedal and notes played subsequently are not sustained. There isn’t a great deal of call for this pedal. It’s generally used in advanced classical or contemporary piano music.  

The far left pedal is known as the “Una Corda” (meaning “one string”). On an acoustic grand the entire hammer mechanism shifts (and usually the keyboard too) so that the hammers only strike one string for each note. (Normally notes in the center of the piano have three strings each, the top notes have two, and the lowest notes, one). This gives a subdued, muted effect that can create atmospheric music. This is another pedal that isn’t in use a great deal except for fairly contemporary piano music. It could be used as a quiet practice device – and often is on an acoustic piano – but a digital piano has the benefit of a volume control and headphone jacks so it’s not needed for that use. 


yamaha avantgrand n3 for sale

  • 88- note specialized piano action with acrylic and resin keys
  • 4 types of touch sensitivity 
  • VRM sound reproduction for deep sampling 
  • 5 keyboard sounds, each with a demo song
  • 10 onboard classical masterpieces to listen to or play along with 
  • Recording capability for 1 song, 1 track 
  • 256 note polyphony 
  • USB TO DEVICE, USB TO HOST, and MIDI IN/OUT/ headphone jack 

Who Is It Suitable For?


In terms of touch responsiveness and sound, nobody could go wrong starting to learn to play the piano with the Yamaha N3 – or indeed, any of the pianos in the Avant Grand series. The question is whether you’d want to spend this much on an instrument for a beginner who may not take to the piano. For a beginner, there are plenty of much less expensive keyboards that have weighted keys, that have far more sounds to choose from, and more recording capability. 

In short, there are other keyboards that are potentially more fun and creative than the Yamaha N3. Beginners, and particularly children, are unlikely to really appreciate the quality of the piano sound on this piano. A very good used acoustic Yamaha piano can cost in the region of $3000 and be an exceptionally good instrument to learn on. If the sound of the piano bothering neighbors is the issue, a good starting instrument is the Yamaha 125, for instance. Once you or your child has committed to learning the instrument long-term, then consider a piano from the Avant Grand series. 

Experienced and serious pianists 

For advanced pianists, the main reason to consider a digital piano over an acoustic is for the ability to turn the volume down or practice late at night with headphones. The other plus is that you never have to tune the piano, which over time will save you a lot of money. If you’re an experienced pianist looking for a digital piano but you still want it to feel and sound as real as possible, the N3 could be a real contender. As far as the realistic impression of an acoustic goes, it doesn’t get much better than the N3. The N2 is another one to consider as the specs are almost identical but there’s quite a big difference in price.  

Pros and Cons

yamaha n3 piano


  • Beautiful realistic weighted hammer action keys 
  • Top-quality piano sound 
  • Real piano feel and sound but never needs tuning and has volume control and headphones. 
  • Good connectivity 
  • Soft close lid 


  • No Duo or Split mode 
  • Limited recording capability onboard 
  • Only five voices on the N3 
  • No Bluetooth

Quick View 

Keys Specialized Piano Action for N2 “Ivorite” white keys 
Touch sensitivity  4 settings: Hard, Medium, Soft or Fixed 
Sounds 5 keyboard instrument sounds created with Spacial Acoustic Sampling. 10 preset songs. 
Recording capabilities  Onboard MIDI recording for 1 song, 1 track, 30,000 note max. plus USB Audio Recording (WAV file) to USB Flash Drive 
Metronome Built-in metronome with 5 – 500 range 
Polyphony  256 notes can be played/sustained at once 
Speakers Built-in speakers: 22W x 10 + 30W x 4 + 80W x 2
Headphones & Connection 2 headphone jacks, AUX IN L/L&R, R, AUX OUT L/L&R, R 


Accessories Music rest and full pedal set built into piano. Soft close lid. 
Price point  $15,000
Weight and Dimensions  483.75lbs

58 X 40 X 47 inches 


The bottom line is that if you have the budget and the space for this instrument, list your requirements and make sure you buy the correct model for your needs. But generally, you couldn’t go wrong with the purchase of a piano from the Avant Grand series. Go to a piano store and try each of the models so that you can make a really informed choice. 

The sound of each one is the main difference because of the speaker output. Keep in mind that the NU1X has the most voices with a selection of 15, the most onboard classical playlist (50 songs), and Bluetooth. The N2 and N3 only come with 5 voices, 10 onboard songs, and no Bluetooth, but a much bigger output. The NU1X takes up the least space and the N3 the most. 

Having reviewed the Yamaha NU1X, N2 and N3 I’d just like to have a little gripe about their user manuals. With a product at each of these very high price points, you’d think that they would provide a well-thought-out and easy-to-use manual. Sadly, they’re hardly any better than the much lower-end-of-the-scale keyboard user manuals with some of the worst diagrams of a piano I’ve ever seen. The NU1X is so out of perspective it looks like the management got their kid to do it. It would be great if the user manual was as elegant and aesthetically pleasing as the piano itself. 

Here is a quick overview of the models in the Avant Grand series and their main differences. They all have a “soft close” lid, 256 polyphony, and approximately the same connectivity, and recording capability. The N2 and N3 are the most different as they have “soundboard resonators” – the N2 has two and the N3 has four.  

NU1X N1 N2 N3
Speakers 45W X 45W 25W +

30W X 5

22W X 10 +

80W X2

22W X 10 +

30W X 4 +

80W X 2

No. of voices 15 5 5 5
Action  Upright Grand Grand Grand 
Weight  245lbs 265lbs 313lbs 438lbs
9.8Expert Score
Yamaha N3 Piano Review We rated the Yamaha N3 piano a 9.8/10. This hybrid digital piano is part of the Avant Grand series. These pianos make great substitutes for acoustic grands if one doesn’t have the space for one. The action on the N3 is buttery, and we were impressed with many of the other features as well, including the tactile response system, speakers, and high-quality pedals. But because this instrument has just 5 sounds, it won’t suit all serious pianists. However, it does a great job at meeting the needs of many classical players.
  • Beautiful realistic weighted hammer action keys
  • Top-quality piano sound
  • Real piano feel and sound but never needs tuning and has volume control and headphones.
  • Good connectivity
  • Soft close lid
  • No Duo or Split mode
  • Limited recording capability onboard
  • Only five voices on the N3
  • No Bluetooth

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