An Electric Piano for Mozarts on a Budget

A grand illusion

Electronic Ivories

No strings attachedSatoshi

A $19,000 piano might not seem recession-friendly. But it's a bargain when it's nearly indistinguishable from one that costs $100,000 more. The sole difference: The discount grand is digital.

Sound emanates from the entire body of the Yamaha AvantGrand, just as it does from a traditional, handbuilt grand's vibrating strings. Four separate sets of speakers, each complete with high-pitched tweeters and thumping woofers, play tones recorded from cor-responding locations on an actual piano. That outdoes other digital models, which replicate notes from only two positions.

Matthew Cameron plays the AvantGrand

Expert pianists will even notice the same subtle quiver in their fingertips as when strings resonate against keys, because a transducer under the keyboard trembles as you play. The only people who will miss the strings? Piano tuners.

Yamaha AvantGrand N3

Audio: 12 speakers, 16 amplifiers
Voices: Grand piano, electric piano and harpsichord
Size: 58 x 47 x 68 in.
Weight: 438 lbs.
Price: $19,000
Get it: yamaha.com