Yamaha CVP 701 Review

Yamaha Clavinova CVP 701 Review

This is a review of the Yamaha CVP701 by one of our forum members, Caroline. 

Thought I do a short review thread of the CVP 701 , whilst Im so enamoured!

It was great to pop back here to the forum, and well done admins for keeping the forum going. A shortish gush about the 701. I started out nearly 10years ago with a PSR (and must have registered here around then too 😀 Life happens, as it does, but Ive had a fab 10years with the PSR sat ontop, for the most part, of an old (ahem) Roland digital piano. Im now a granny 👏👏 to a 3 year old and have been lucky enough to have inherited a 9 year old grandaughter too. (No, I dont look old enough 😇 ) and this year have scrapped both, to replace with the CVP 701. Its absolutely fantastic.

I looked at both the 701 and the 705, but 2 things sold me on the 701. A/ The price. Its quite a jump to the 705 and honestly Yamaha, I didnt use all those voices on the PSR never mind the extra few hundred on the 701! and B/ I went in store for a demo to see if I could find a work around for the 705s ability to add string orchestration ‘freestyle’ as it were.

Well we did work out a work around by using the piano orchestra style accompaniement (found in ‘pianist’ style settings). I set the fingering to AI full keyboard. Muted the instuments in the accomp I didnt want, leaving just the strings section, and bingo, you have a fully chorded strings section following you whilst playing freely. (no beat, Id muted that too). Its great for piano solo pieces that want a bit of depth or change of speed and expression etc as your not restricted to bar tempo. Take that 705. 😀

The other differences with the 705 is of course the size of screen and touch screen. But the functions are identical, and I use sheet music so wouldnt be straining to follow music on screen, (the 701 is button operated) and I couldnt justify the leap in price for the convenience of touch screen. Im sure theres lots of other stuff on the 705, ability to have singing voices harmonised, etc but for me, the 701 does everything I need it to, and more.

I could go on at great length about the toys and whistles, but there are 2 functions relating to grandchildren, that just exceeded all expectation. 1/ is the ability to plug a mic in and record the whole lot as an audio wav file (thats my mini digital recorder now scrapped too) and 2/ It has a follow lights function.

This is where the lights above the keys light up to guide you. Id seen this on you tube and thought ok, thats a bit of fun for beginners, but didnt take much notice. But not only can you buy pre-recorded fully arranged midi files to have fun with from Yamahas Musicsoft online store, but the guide function and lights also work on all your own midi recordings. I wasnt expecting that.

When you have ‘guide’ on, the accompaniement/midi track then waits for you to hit the right note, and doesnt proceed with the piece until you do. Its absolutely brilliant for little people and loads of fun for novice big people too. The delght on the 3 years old face when she hits a note and a whole orchestra follows her, is brilliant. We are of course bombarded with Jingle Bells and Rudolph at the moment, but well done yamaha! Next generation of ‘lets make music’ lovers are born. Just one small tip at this point regards the follow lights guide, if youre recording a midi for beginners, remember to do a simple single melody in your right hand. If you play a chorded melody right hand, the guide will ask for all right hand chorded notes to be played.

There is loads to this instrument that I still probably havent come to grips with. Theres familiar ground from the PSR, same intro/main/ending set up etc Registration banks etc but the combination of a full size digital piano with fantastic sound system and masses of technical functionality is an absolute winner.

You are able to assign functions to the pedals, very easily, so for example, to add the second voice, I assign it to the centre pedal (you can on/off to your hearts content), and say to change the main accompaniements (a/b/c/d) I can assign to the left pedal. This means no more snatching at buttons during a fast or tricky piece. All set ups, including pedal assignments, harmonised voices etc can be ‘remembered’ in the registration memory bank, so you can set it up in any multitude of ways for whatever piece youre currently working on, and also then name that registration too! (I used to keep a hand written list of my registration banks on my PSR……no more 😀) Oh, and its worth mentioning you can easily edit everything. You can pick a style then edit down/up/mute all instruments in that style, you can change the voices used etc, its an endless arranger.

Recording multi tracks is so easy. Its all on screen and you simply toggle on/off the tracks you want to lay down. Its got a USB drive to save or transfer files, and you can record in both midi format and standard audio wav files. Everything (apart from my slight misunderstanding about master and keyboard transpose during midi recording) is very logical.

The voices are exceptional, which is what took me to Yamaha originally, and the weighted key feel is lovely. Heavier than my PSR and far closer to a real piano feel. Even for straight forward piano pieces its outstanding, and the speakers are awesome. The new super articulation voices are great fun too. This is where theyve added what Id describe as ‘live’ sounds. Drawing breath whilst playing sax, string slides on the guitars etc are great and all add up to an excellent ‘real’ instument experience. These super articulated parts to the voices can also be added to the pedals, so you can tap your acoustic guitar body at will for example.

All round its a fantastic instrument for the price band. Does so much for pleasure playing, and cant wait to get to grips with the punch in/out editing to correct those annoying errors in recordings I throw in there constantly, whilst under the pressure of that little red record light flashing!

Another little snippet thats well worth highlighting. You can set the dynamic control to off/narrow/medium/wide. What this does is change the sensitivity response. (More than just a ‘touch’ setting). If you have it on wide for example, you can play and have your accomp styles playing really softly with a light touch, but then blow your roof off by hammering the keys! The styles follow the sensitivity too. Its fantastic for expression and building pieces up into crescendos etc. Just loving it. Any down sides? None that Ive found yet!

I really just cant see me getting bored with this one!

Next stop, I need to educate myself on linking up my ipad….

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