Sept 8, 2012. I own these digital pianos, the Clavinova CVP-409 and Clavinova CVP-509.
This post is for people searching for more info about them. I loved the CVP-409 so much, that when I needed another, I went to the store and bought the newest model, (at the time) the CVP-509. Only later have I discovered some differences.
The CVP-409 has a better sounding default grand piano, in my opinion. (others agree, some suggested a fix).
The CVP-509 has some wonderful new Synthesizer voices, including awesome new effects that are triggered with the left foot pedal, not just boring pitch bend.
Here’s a short musical example, made with a synthesizer voice called ResonanceComp, on the CVP-509. (Me improvising in a hurry before going to work.) Notice the wonderful variation in the way notes sound, just from varying the attack speed on the keys! The left foot pedal has a Wah Wah effect that is very dramatic. You can hear the left foot pedal effect on this much simpler example.
I also made a quick sample this morning, of the CVP-509’s bass notes. There’s a subtle tremelo effect and harshness to the sound, that isn’t as pleasing as my CVP-409. Here’s a 409 sample of playing some bass notes. OK, I admit, it’s a very subtle difference.
Because my CVP-409 is at home, and two CVP-509s are at other places, I’ve posted the pertinent Grand Piano configuration screens of my 409 and 509, so that I can have them for reference when I try to adjust my 509s to sound more like the 409.
The only significant difference I can detect: The 409 default piano has REVERB DEPTH of 0, and Reverb DSP ON with Depth of 25. And, it has a DSP set to type HALL3 with a Variation (off) reverb time value of 1.4s.
Sept 23, 2012 update. Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time learning about software-based synthesizers. I’m liking “Reason” (but must also check out Ableton live and Apple’s Logic). A controller add-on Behringer B-Control Rotary BCR2000. I’m undecided about running soft synths on a PC, versus buying a hardware sound module like Receptor that can run virtual synths, or/and buy a Roland Integra-7.
On the “Reason” side of my internal debate (virtual vs hardware), here’s a nice website with some Reason advanced tutorials. Reason101.net
Oct 2, 2012 update. Gee, I can create my own midi controller from a custom arrangement of components, from livid instruments.
Oct 17, 2012 update. I bought Reason, and started a new blog post about using it with the Clavinova.
Oct 20, 2012 update. I’ve been playing with the software synthesizers on Reason, including their best software pianos. Although they sound pretty good, the Clavinova’s native piano sounds are better. The sounds from the native clavinova are instant, and highly responsive to slight differences in touch pressure/velocity on the keyboard. In contrast, the delay caused by MIDI and software is detectable and a little bothersome, and the dynamic range of note volumes is significantly less. So, all you Clavinova owners out there, your Clavinovas are awesome.. no need to envy software versions.
May 8, 2013 update. I tried out a CVP-609, and I wasn’t impressed. But it took me a year to come to appreciate the differences of 409 to 509, so maybe I didn’t spend enough time to do a full review. But a lot of buttons have been removed in the CVP-609. Its definitely not obvious how to do important things, like split left hand and right hand into separate Voices. The 609 has nice Vocal voices singing lots of different syllables, which would be fun. But they stripped out a lot of Voices that I love, like the Mandolin, the Orchestral Harp, and a lot more… that have simply vanished. Maybe they thought -less-is-more-, to simplify things. Anyway, I was considering whether to sell my 409 and get a 609, but no, I won’t do that. And, I think the 509 will be remembered as a pinnacle of sorts, and maybe I should try to find a 509 to replace my 409, before 509s disappear from stores forever.
The default piano sound in the CVP-609 is a concert grand with the lip open, with big concert hall reverb. I find that sounds incongruous in a family home environment. Maybe it sells better in a store, but I would try to set the default to less reverb, less brightness. It reminds me of the AvantGrand models, which also seem excessively reverby.