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Kawai MP6 first impressions #1752685
09/14/11 11:51 PM
09/14/11 11:51 PM
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My beat-up MP6 arrived today from Music123. It was in a little worse shape than advertised, but I was kind of expecting that. I have to replace five keys, there's no damper pedal, and one of the end cheeks is actually split as well as being banged up. It looks like it must have been dropped from quite a height!

I managed to work out how to get inside the piano, and have removed the broken keys. I've also asked Kawai US for replacement keys and for pricing on end cheeks and damper pedal. Within a couple of weeks I hope to have it fully functioning.

I've only done a very quick test on the sound - grand, Rhodes and Wurli. The grand piano has a nice tone, but I'm a little disappointed that the timbre change from pp to ff is less than expected. I'd stick my neck out and say that there's less timbre variation and dynamic range than in the MP5 (my memory may be playing tricks, but I don't think so). I would bet that the MP10 offers significantly wider variation. When the MP6 first came out I bemoaned the fact that Kawai had put a lesser engine in the MP6; so far I have heard nothing to change that opinion. That said, it does actually sound like an acoustic piano with a fairly bright tone - not bad at all. For me, however, the FP-7F is clearly in the lead for dynamics and timbre variation.

The action plays very nicely. It's not something I feel comfortable pronouncing on after just a few minutes with the piano, so I'll hold off until I've had more time with it. Repeat speed seems acceptable. While the FP and the MP have a different feel, I doubt that either one will be noticeably better than the other in normal use.

The first Rhodes and first Wurli are quite good - not up to either Nord or Kurzweil standards, but usable. I expected the mod wheel to vary the tremolo, but that doesn't seem to be the case, so I'll need to look into how that works.

So first impressions are quite good in terms of sound, but no wow-factor yet. Action is definitely good. I'll try to give a more considered analysis once I've spent some quality time with it.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
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Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1752688
09/15/11 12:01 AM
09/15/11 12:01 AM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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voxpops, feel free to send me an message if you would like to receive the latest software update and owner's manual (both are currently unavailable publicly).

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: Kawai James] #1752694
09/15/11 12:26 AM
09/15/11 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
voxpops, feel free to send me an message if you would like to receive the latest software update and owner's manual (both are currently unavailable publicly).

Cheers,
James
x


PM sent. Thanks, James.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1752963
09/15/11 01:25 PM
09/15/11 01:25 PM
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VOX POPS, I know you haven,t spent much time with the mp6 but Im wondering how you think the numa piano compares to it .

Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: pianomike] #1752974
09/15/11 01:48 PM
09/15/11 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pianomike
VOX POPS, I know you haven,t spent much time with the mp6 but Im wondering how you think the numa piano compares to it .

Oh, gosh, that's a tricky one. My replacement Numa hasn't arrived yet so I can't do a side-by-side test. Basic observations are:
The Kawai is a much more substantial build - and weighs accordingly.
The Kawai has many more sounds built in.
The Kawai's action is much more sophisticated. That can be a blessing and a curse. The old MP5 had a built-in "safety valve". If the piano received a shock, the keys would pop out of their pivot point. With the new action, the keys are locked into the pivot point and so receive a lot of stress on the weakest/thinnest part of the plastic and are subject to breakage. The MP6 responds well but such a nice action deserves a better AP sound engine, IMO.
The Kawai has a more sophisticated MIDI control interface.
The Kawai has a more sophisticated sound processor that uses 88-note sampling, blended velocity layers and resonance. The Numa uses a five-layer stretched sample set with no resonance and no blending.
The Kawai has better organs, but not a particularly good Leslie sim.

Both the Kawai and the Numa have good panel access to essential controls such as reverb and effects.

The Numa has a slightly richer acoustic piano sound.
The Numa has slightly more vibrant Rhodes and Wurli samples.
The Numa action benefits from the automatic velocity-curve "learn" function.

It really is a bit like apples and oranges between these two. One sets out to be one of the lightest stage pianos, and the other tries to be one of the most acoustic-feeling stage pianos. Which is more important to you?


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1752981
09/15/11 02:00 PM
09/15/11 02:00 PM
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Nashville, Tennessee
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Thanks for the update Vox. I look forward to hearing your review when you have a complete 100% working keyboard. I found the MP6 to offer exceptional bang for buck. The action is a clear step up from the Ivory Feel-G/GH3 in the RD-300NX/CP50, and the sound was quite good to me as well. I love how the MP5/6 have angled interfaces the way the GEM's used to. Considering the quality of the sounds, the action, and the build quality at the price it's sold for, the MP6 is really impressive.


Kawai MP7SE w/ GFP-3
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: PianoZac] #1752997
09/15/11 02:21 PM
09/15/11 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ZacharyForbes
I look forward to hearing your review when you have a complete 100% working keyboard.

The replacement keys are on their way from Kawai. Unfortunately they don't stock spare end cheeks, so I'll either have to live with the damage or get someone who's into woodworking to restore them.


Originally Posted by ZacharyForbes
I found the MP6 to offer exceptional bang for buck. The action is a clear step up from the Ivory Feel-G/GH3 in the RD-300NX/CP50, and the sound was quite good to me as well. I love how the MP5/6 have angled interfaces the way the GEM's used to. Considering the quality of the sounds, the action, and the build quality at the price it's sold for, the MP6 is really impressive.


Yes, the action is perhaps the best thing about the board, and, given the board's price, adds hugely to the value offered. The angled interface should make for much better live control, particularly in a multi-board rig.

I know I'm very critical of many boards' sound engines, the MP6 included, but that is the one area where a little more R&D would pay off. The old GEMs were nearly there with their modeled Rhodes and partially modeled APs. Roland has caught up with their SN engine, and it really does improve the playing experience. Yamaha has done the same now with their EPs, to generally great acclaim. Kawai needs to stop being stingy with their UPHI, as anything less is sadly not up there with the best. Nord has some great APs and EPs but could benefit from smoothing a few rough edges. And Korg is all over the place, from really wonderful to pretty bad!

Having really done the rounds over the last few months, I would love to take the best bits of all the manufacturers and put them together in a super-board! Maybe another two or three years down the line and we'll really have superb action, sound and portability together in one unit.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1753068
09/15/11 04:35 PM
09/15/11 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by voxpops
Having really done the rounds over the last few months, I would love to take the best bits of all the manufacturers and put them together in a super-board! Maybe another two or three years down the line and we'll really have superb action, sound and portability together in one unit.

My bet is in a few years we'll still be sitting here wondering why most DPs are so obviously lame in one way or another, and picking among the best of the worst.

Speaking of DIY, I found this on the web yesterday: http://www.raspberrypi.org/ Buy it for $25, stick in a Flash card, connect a SPI D/A converter, load Linux, and start building your own DP!

Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: dewster] #1753071
09/15/11 04:42 PM
09/15/11 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dewster
Originally Posted by voxpops
Having really done the rounds over the last few months, I would love to take the best bits of all the manufacturers and put them together in a super-board! Maybe another two or three years down the line and we'll really have superb action, sound and portability together in one unit.

My bet is in a few years we'll still be sitting here wondering why most DPs are so obviously lame in one way or another, and picking among the best of the worst.

I'm trying to be optimistic, dewster! Don't depress me too much. wink


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1753093
09/15/11 05:28 PM
09/15/11 05:28 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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voxpops, thank you for posting your thoughts about the MP6.

Regarding the sound of the instrument, I wonder if - and please don't take this personally - you have allowed your prejudgement of the MP6 to get the better of you? A self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps?

When this product was announced you were quick to criticise the fact that it utilises PHI sound rather than the UPHI of the MP10, and have expressed similar criticisms several times since. I wonder if the brochure specs listed UPHI (while still keeping the current PHI sound) would you feel the same way?

This is perhaps one of the pitfalls of offering a staggered range of sound technologies. It doesn't matter how good PHI actually is (in my opinion it's very good - both technically and aurally), I expect some consumers will often still say to themselves "Oh, but I wish it was UPHI".

The Roland (and to a lesser extent Yamaha) approach is arguably more satisfying to consumers, as they use the same 'SuperNatural' umbrella term across a broad range of instrument classes. From my experience cheaper SN models do not sound as rich as the more expensive instruments. However most consumers do not have the opportunity to play a range of models back-to-back, and therefore will probably never experience such remorse - on paper all the models are 'SuperNatural', so surely they must all sound the same, right? I expect that if the RD-300NX was marketed as having 'SN1' sound, while the RD-700NX was marketed as having 'SN2' sound, we would probably see similar criticisms to yours above: "Why were Roland so stingy? Why did they reserve their best sound technology for the larger, heavier board?" etc.

Anyway, to return to the MP6, while I agree that - for consumers - it would have been nice for this instrument to feature Kawai's top of the range UPHI sound, in reality, it's perhaps not such a good idea. First, it would likely cannibalise sales away from the MP10 and Kawai's other flagship instruments (such as the CA93/CA63), and second, it could potentially distort the rest of Kawai's product range. As many have already highlighted, the MP6 already represents fantastic value for money - if you were to add the top-of-the range sound technology, sure it would completely blow everything else away, but then it could also harm the current CN range.

So you see, there a range of factors that must be taken into consideration when deciding instrument specifications and pricing structures. I'd love my Nord Electro 3 to have more memory, but the guys at Clavia know that this would draw sales away from the Stage 2 - it's exactly the same thing.

Well, I've said my piece, and shall look forward to reading your thoughts.

Cheers.
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1753095
09/15/11 05:30 PM
09/15/11 05:30 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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On a separate note:

Originally Posted by voxpops
The Numa action benefits from the automatic velocity-curve "learn" function.


I expect the MP6's 'User Touch Curve' function does much the same thing.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: Kawai James] #1753117
09/15/11 06:14 PM
09/15/11 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
voxpops, thank you for posting your thoughts about the MP6.

Regarding the sound of the instrument, I wonder if - and please don't take this personally - you have allowed your prejudgement of the MP6 to get the better of you? A self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps?

When this product was announced you were quick to criticise the fact that it utilises PHI sound rather than the UPHI of the MP10, and have expressed similar criticisms several times since. I wonder if the brochure specs listed UPHI (while still keeping the current PHI sound) would you feel the same way?

This is arguable one of the pitfalls of offering a staggered range of sound technologies. It doesn't matter how good PHI actually is (in my opinion it's very good - both technically and aurally), I expect consumers will often say to themselves "Oh, I wish it was UPHI".

The Roland (and to a lesser extent Yamaha) approach is arguably more satisfying to consumers, as they use the same 'SuperNatural' umbrella term across a broad range of instrument classes. From my experience cheaper SN models do not sound as rich as the more expensive instruments. However most consumers do not have the opportunity to play a range of models back-to-back, and therefore will probably never experience such remorse - on paper all the models are 'SuperNatural', so surely they must all sound the same, right? I expect that if the RD-300NX was marketed as having 'SN1' sound, while the RD-700NX was marketed as having 'SN2' sound, we would probably see similar criticisms to yours above: "Why were Roland so stingy? Why did reserve their best sound technology for the larger, heavier board?" etc.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Cheers.
James
x


I kind of let myself in for that one, didn't I, James? wink

When I first heard that the MP5 and MP8, which shared the same (very good) sound engine, were to be replaced by tiered models, I admit I was quick to criticize, as I was desperately hoping that we could get a reasonably lightweight board with a top quality sound engine. I saw absolutely no reason then - and I still don't - why those requiring lightweight boards should be thought of as only worthy of lower quality sound sources. I actually find it ludicrous and immensely frustrating!

As time went on, and there were some positive reports on the MP6, I began to weaken. When an inexpensive MP5 came along, I decided to give it a try just to dip my toe in the Kawai water. I was actually really pleasantly surprised - very good piano sound, IMO, with a great dynamic range. Due to its limitations when played in mono (loss of effects, thinning of sound) I didn't keep it(also, at the time, believe it or not, I was trying to slim down my "collection"!). However, I really wondered what I was missing with the MP6.

Fast forward to now, and the opportunity to try an MP6 without investing too much (as I still wasn't at all sure it was for me), and I at last get to compare it with its predecessor, and with my other current and recent DPs - not to mention any preconceived notions I harbored.

However, I'm rarely swayed by either marketing hype or by my own prejudices. If I'm wrong about something, I'll admit it - albeit somewhat grudgingly. But, so far, with the MP6, what I hear is what I write. To me the APs are, in some ways not as good as the MP5, although the EPs are certainly better. I'm not particularly kind to Nord, Studiologic or Roland, unless IMO they deserve it. I gave up with Yamaha because I found them fairly sterile. I admire what Roland has achieved with SN: to me my FP-7F sounds and plays great. I have no idea whether it's SN stage-1, -2 or -3 - that's irrelevant to me (although I'm perfectly well aware of the difference in Roland's D/A converters according to price point). I also like a lot about my FP-4, and that's not even SN stage-0! However, I'm not a Roland fan boy. I have severely criticized Roland's approach to EPs, as well as their decommissioning of effects, and I hated my RD-300SX's action!

So back to the MP6. I am able to play it (almost) alongside the FP-7F. I've already praised its action, which I think is comparable. However, as a first impression, I really don't think the main AP sound is as good - to my ears, of course. I think that's probably why people like Rimmer ended up with the 7F after trying both, and Dave Ferris (I think) said that he lost interest in the MP6 after 10 minutes. It's certainly not due to any preconception - after shelling out the dosh, I actually wanted to be proven wrong! It would fill a hole in my gigging arsenal. This is not to say that the MP6 is bad - far from it! But it is being compared to something fairly universally acknowledged as very good indeed. If the MP6 was really the bees knees in AP sounds, there would be no need for UPHI!

I'm going to be working with the MP6 as I repair it, and I'll have a better understanding of it with time. I prefaced my remarks with the caveat that these were first impressions, but I also didn't approach them either through rose- or mud-tinted spectacles!

As I said at the beginning of this post, I set myself up for this criticism, and so I take no offense at all. However, I try to be honest and as objective as possible when talking about DPs.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: Kawai James] #1753121
09/15/11 06:19 PM
09/15/11 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
On a separate note:

Originally Posted by voxpops
The Numa action benefits from the automatic velocity-curve "learn" function.


I expect the MP6's 'User Touch Curve' function does much the same thing.

Cheers,
James
x

That's great - I wasn't sure if the MP6 had something like that or not. But the difference is the Numa needs it!


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1753195
09/15/11 08:52 PM
09/15/11 08:52 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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voxpops, thank you for your post - I greatly appreciate the chance to correspond directly with consumers in this way, especially those who have hands-on experience with a range of instruments.

I believe the FP-7F and MP6 occupy different segments of the market, making direct comparisons difficult. I just had a quick look at the prices of the two products on Music123:

- FP-7F: $1900
- MP6: $1499

So straight away there's disparity in price. Sure, the Roland has built-in speakers, however I doubt these add $400 to the development/parts cost.

I believe a more suitable comparison would be with the RD-300NX, however this board is also $200 more expensive.

Let's say hypothetically that Kawai increased the price of the MP6 by $200-$400, and used the larger R&D budget to add the UPHI sound engine from the MP10, XLR jacks, Line-in mixing/recording etc. Consumers with deeper pockets and bolder demands would likely sing our praises. However, those with less funds (e.g. a maximum budget of $1500), who perhaps are less concerned about the subtle differences between PHI and UPHI, would unfortunately be left out in the cold.

As I noted previously, manufacturers are constantly facing the challenge of balancing price and performance. The MP6 does not sound as good as the MP10 - agreed, it may not sound as good as the FP-7F, however for the money, it's still an excellent board, and - in my opinion - offers the best 'bang for your buck' of any stage piano currently on the market. That was our objective.

A couple of other comments:

Originally Posted by voxpops
Due to its [the MP5's] limitations when played in mono (loss of effects, thinning of sound) I didn't keep it.


Did you try changing the 'Out Mode' system setting from Stereo to 2xMono, or perhaps selecting one of the mono AP patches?

Originally Posted by voxpops
I think that's probably why people like Rimmer ended up with the 7F after trying both, and Dave Ferris (I think) said that he lost interest in the MP6 after 10 minutes...


Well, referencing two forum members' experiences of the MP6 doesn't really say a great deal. You may also recall that another user here, Rhodie73, recently came back to the MP6 after brief stints owning the CP1, RD-700NX, CP50 - clearly, personal opinions are highly subjective.


Anyway, once again, best of luck with your repair project!

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: Kawai James] #1753206
09/15/11 09:19 PM
09/15/11 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
voxpops, thank you for your post - I greatly appreciate the chance to correspond directly with consumers in this way, especially those who have hands-on experience with a range of instruments.

I believe the FP-7F and MP6 occupy different segments of the market, making direct comparisons difficult. I just had a quick look at the prices of the two products on Music123:

- FP-7F: $1900
- MP6: $1499

So straight away there's disparity in price. Sure, the Roland has built-in speakers, however I doubt these add $400 to the development/parts cost.

I believe a more suitable comparison would be with the RD-300NX, however this board is also $200 more expensive.

I think that's fair comment. The FP-7F has been priced as a more premium product, and isn't strictly a stage piano anyway. I agree that the speakers don't add $400, although some might argue that the other features (harmonizer, accompaniments, rhythms, etc.) could be worth two or three hundred. Roland tends to price high for all its products, although there seems to be room to negotiate with smaller dealers (I was offered the FP-4F for around $1400 at one point).


Originally Posted by Kawai James

Let's say hypothetically that Kawai increased the price of the MP6 by $200-$400, and used the larger R&D budget to add the UPHI sound engine from the MP10, XLR jacks, Line-in mixing/recording etc. Consumers with deeper pockets and bolder demands would likely sing our praises.

Yes, hallelujah! That's what I was hoping for.

Originally Posted by Kawai James

However, those with less funds (e.g. a maximum budget of $1500), who perhaps are less concerned about the subtle differences between PHI and UPHI, would unfortunately be left out in the cold.

Not if Kawai made two models available.

Originally Posted by Kawai James

As I noted previously, manufacturers are constantly facing the challenge of balancing price and performance. The MP6 does not sound as good as the MP10 - agreed, it may not sound as good as the FP-7F, however for the money, it's still an excellent board, and - in my opinion - offers the best 'bang for your buck' of any stage piano currently on the market. That was our objective.

I don't disagree with any of that. I have only said that I was a little disappointed in the timbre variation and dynamic range, but that the basic tone was good. I only had the old MP5 as a reference point and thought that while improvements had been made in some quarters, other things had perhaps been lost. There is a lot more to the MP6 than just its AP sounds. The action is great, the functionality is great. The EPs are pretty good and there's a whole slew of other stuff besides. I'm not knocking it, but pointing out that in one area (that's very important to me) I was hoping for a little more.

Originally Posted by Kawai James

A couple of other comments:

Originally Posted by voxpops
Due to its [the MP5's] limitations when played in mono (loss of effects, thinning of sound) I didn't keep it.


Did you try changing the 'Out Mode' system setting from Stereo to 2xMono, or perhaps selecting one of the mono AP patches?

Yes, with little improvement, and unfortunately that has no effect on the Rhodes tremolo, for example, which gets completely lost in mono (same with the MP6). I've come across this in certain other boards, so it's not unique to the MPs.

Originally Posted by Kawai James

Originally Posted by voxpops
I think that's probably why people like Rimmer ended up with the 7F after trying both, and Dave Ferris (I think) said that he lost interest in the MP6 after 10 minutes...


Well, referencing two forum members' experiences of the MP6 doesn't really say a great deal. You may also recall that another user here, Rhodie73, recently came back to the MP6 after brief stints owning the CP1, RD-700NX, CP50 - clearly, personal opinions are highly subjective.

Again, I'm in agreement. The only point of quoting those instances was to indicate that while there isn't universal approval of SN technology, the advances tend to make people who frequent these forums more critical of what else is out there.


Originally Posted by Kawai James

Anyway, once again, best of luck with your repair project!


Thank you! I'm not the greatest technician in the world, so heart is somewhat in mouth as I attempt this!


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1753212
09/15/11 09:57 PM
09/15/11 09:57 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,206
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anotherscott Offline
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I agree, the MP6 competitor is closer to the RD300NX than the FP-7F.

The FP-4F and FP-7F are pianos with speakers and very limited MIDI controller functions.

The MP6 and RD-300NX have no speakers, but have good MIDI controller functions.

Lower priced models I would also put in its general category would include the Yamaha CP33 and Kurzweil SP4-8, but I think the MP6 is a good value at its price as well, it has some very nice features. (Also, though it's a workstation, I think the Yamaha MOX8 also competes from the perspective of being a comparably priced nice sounding piano with good MIDI controller functions.)

That said, some people don't particularly care about MIDI controller features, and/or don't necessarily care about speakers, and are just looking for the best sounding, best feeling piano in their budget, regardless of whether or not they have one or the other of those other features, so you end up competing with different things. Even then, though, not only is the MP6 less expensive that the FP-7F as you point out, it's also less expensive than the FP-4F. (And the higher end MP-10 sells for less than the Nord PIano or the Yamaha CP5, though more than the Roland FP-7F.)

I think Kawai prices and features are certainly competitive... and if whichever of these boards does what someone needs, it just comes down to personal preference about action and sound. (And, alas, weight.)

Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: voxpops] #1753284
09/16/11 01:04 AM
09/16/11 01:04 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 161
Louisiana, US
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FrankDaddy Offline
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Being the owener of a MP6 I agree with anotherscott. It is at a good price/performance point. I do own a couple of vintage instruments, but myback cannot take moving them. the MP6 is light enough to move and is sort of like a Swiss army knife. I mentioned it in my first post back in October. The more I use it the better sounds I get out of it. I would have liked to have gotten the MP10 but i needed a good all around keyboard for light gigging. It works very well for that. Again I am happy with my decision. and my ears may not be as dicriminating as others. But next year I may buy a Mac and place soft pianos and use the MP6 as a Midi controller. I like the keyboard and then I can really tailor what piano sound I want. I can still use it for gigging in small venues and use the soft pianos for recording. SO again that fits my needs. by the way voxpops you are probably the type musician that can make anything sound great. I do enjoy your comments. Good luck on your MP6 project!

Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: Kawai James] #1753289
09/16/11 01:11 AM
09/16/11 01:11 AM
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Posts: 4,675
Northern NJ
dewster Offline
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Northern NJ
Originally Posted by Kawai James
This is perhaps one of the pitfalls of offering a staggered range of sound technologies. It doesn't matter how good PHI actually is (in my opinion it's very good - both technically and aurally), I expect some consumers will often still say to themselves "Oh, but I wish it was UPHI".

I'm no Roland fan boy (or at least I don't think I am), but to their credit they seem to have devoted a fair amount of resources to designing SN pianos into their products where one expects a premium piano sound - it was a substantial mass update for them.

Originally Posted by Kawai James
The Roland (and to a lesser extent Yamaha) approach is arguably more satisfying to consumers, as they use the same 'SuperNatural' umbrella term across a broad range of instrument classes. From my experience cheaper SN models do not sound as rich as the more expensive instruments. However most consumers do not have the opportunity to play a range of models back-to-back, and therefore will probably never experience such remorse - on paper all the models are 'SuperNatural', so surely they must all sound the same, right? I expect that if the RD-300NX was marketed as having 'SN1' sound, while the RD-700NX was marketed as having 'SN2' sound, we would probably see similar criticisms to yours above: "Why were Roland so stingy? Why did they reserve their best sound technology for the larger, heavier board?" etc.

This is the first I've heard that the less expensive SN pianos sound inferior. I haven't tested any of the lower end SN models, but the RD-700NX, RD-700GXF, FP-7F, and HP307 all seem to have the same SN piano voice and features. Frankly I'd be rather surprised if the FP-4F and/or RD300NX had an inferior sounding SN piano, but I've been similarly surprised in the past by Yamaha.

Please don't take this as a personal attack, but could it be that your preconceived notions regarding price and value are influencing your perceptions? Or could a different percieved sound be attributed to the different key action in these less expensive models?

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Anyway, to return to the MP6, while I agree that - for consumers - it would have been nice for this instrument to feature Kawai's top of the range UPHI sound, in reality, it's perhaps not such a good idea. First, it would likely cannibalise sales away from the MP10 and Kawai's other flagship instruments (such as the CA93/CA63), and second, it could potentially distort the rest of Kawai's product range. As many have already highlighted, the MP6 already represents fantastic value for money - if you were to add the top-of-the range sound technology, sure it would completely blow everything else away, but then it could also harm the current CN range.

I can only imagine the conversations in "high level" DP management meetings: "We can't put the best sound in our new less expensive DP, it might sell like hotcakes and ruin the company!"

Internal competition between a single manufacturer's various product lines will be the death of us. Once Kawai has a new version of HI, PHI, UPHI, or whatever, they, like Roland, should install it as quickly as they can into as many models as they reasonably can. Otherwise we end up stuck at this stupid place we're in now where products "evolve" one step up, two steps back, and that at a glacial pace.

You can't convince me that the difference between PHI & UPHI is more than $5 or $10 of hardware retail, and the software for UPHI is already written so that's virtually free too. Any product that has PHI at this point is either 1) old and legacy, or 2) new and intentionally dumbed down. In this bizarrely retro market, getting caught dumbing anything down should be a felony.

People who complain that government is inefficient need only look to the DP market for an example of the invisible hand being invisible because it just ain't there. Product tiering specialists broke it and now it's at home on permanent disability.

Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: FrankDaddy] #1753298
09/16/11 01:33 AM
09/16/11 01:33 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,237
Wales
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voxpops Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,237
Wales
Originally Posted by FrankDaddy
Being the owener of a MP6 I agree with anotherscott. It is at a good price/performance point. I do own a couple of vintage instruments, but myback cannot take moving them. the MP6 is light enough to move and is sort of like a Swiss army knife. I mentioned it in my first post back in October. The more I use it the better sounds I get out of it. I would have liked to have gotten the MP10 but i needed a good all around keyboard for light gigging. It works very well for that. Again I am happy with my decision. and my ears may not be as dicriminating as others. But next year I may buy a Mac and place soft pianos and use the MP6 as a Midi controller. I like the keyboard and then I can really tailor what piano sound I want. I can still use it for gigging in small venues and use the soft pianos for recording. SO again that fits my needs. by the way voxpops you are probably the type musician that can make anything sound great. I do enjoy your comments. Good luck on your MP6 project!


Thanks, FrankDaddy, it's scary but interesting pulling a DP apart. The MP6 action looks pretty complex - and expensive to manufacture. I used it this evening on a band rehearsal (just AP sounds as I'm going to do a gig on a Yamaha grand tomorrow); I felt quite comfortable with it, and found the action very tight and even.

I agree that the action coupled with MIDI capabilities makes it an ideal candidate for software pianos. Over the past months I've watched a few youtube videos of a guy using one to record Dream Theater stuff. I think he used Ivory pianos with it.

I haven't had a chance to delve yet, but I did discover the drive for the EPs - which certainly beefs them up a bit. I had also forgotten that the MP5 pianos are still in the MP6 so it's possible to compare the samples side by side. That in itself makes things more intriguing.

I have no idea whether, like you, I'll grow very fond of it over time, but there's a lot to it, and it needs to be given that time.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Kawai MP6 first impressions [Re: dewster] #1753300
09/16/11 01:41 AM
09/16/11 01:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,237
Wales
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voxpops Offline OP
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voxpops  Offline OP
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Wales
Dewster, I can't help but agree with the thrust of your argument. Personally, I think Roland's strategy is paying off. I'm not privy to the sales figures, but judging by the groundswell, I'd say they are selling a lot of units.

Having said that, there are also lots of Kawai owners on this forum!


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
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