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#1963603 - 09/24/12 10:07 AM Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95
andal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/23/12
Posts: 40

I'm new to digital pianos and am looking to buy one. I did a search on this forums and couldn't find much discussion about the new Roland DP-90S.

I am very space-confined and am currently considering the Roland DP-90S or the Kawai CA 95.

The things I like about the Roland are:
  • compact size
  • polished finish (I think, not sure I like this or not)
  • ability to wirelessly communicate with an iPad (although I'm not sure why only 2 of the 3 Piano Partner functions work this particular model)
  • PHA III keyboard (not sure how this compare's to Kawai's "Grand Feel")

Things I like about the Kawai:
  • looks more like a traditional piano
  • it seems to be getting good reviews

What do people think about the Roland DP-90S?

Also, how does Roland's SuperNATURAL sound technology compare to Kawai's?


Edited by andal (09/24/12 10:07 AM)


Click Here

#1963607 - 09/24/12 10:12 AM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: andal]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12857
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
How about an AvantGrand N1?

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

#1963618 - 09/24/12 10:46 AM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: andal]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4675
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: andal
What do people think about the Roland DP-90S?

Also, how does Roland's SuperNATURAL sound technology compare to Kawai's?

The gloss black looks nice in the brochure!

Roland SN technically smokes just about everything else out there in DPs, but you may or may not like the actual sound of the piano. Lots of people here seem to like the PHAIII keys, but perhaps more like Kawai keys better.

Have you tried either / both of these DPs? If so, I'm curious as to how adequate the speakers / amps were to you.
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

#1963655 - 09/24/12 12:18 PM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: dewster]
origen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/17/12
Posts: 98
Loc: New Hampshire
both pianos are excellent choices, it seems that the gloss black piano finish is important to you as well, Ive heard and read a lot of good things regarding kawais gloss finish, it doesnt wear and will retain its finish for decades upon decades, please research for yourself though, but from what ive read its the best finish in the business, as far as sounds go, you will have to decide yourself, no one makes a bad piano in those price ranges.

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#1964085 - 09/25/12 06:14 AM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: andal]
Wuffski Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 546
Loc: Europe (Northern Spain)
I recently got the chance to intensively compare digital pianos (at least 10 different ones in the price range above 1200 GBP = 1500 EUR = 2000 USD), and there have been around as well a huge number of acoustic pianos (uprights and grands between 3500 GBP and 65000 GBP), I could not even count them. I was especially on the search to investigate personally what it is really all about in the plenty of threads in this forum about key action (mechanical feeling and mechanical movements of the keys) and responsiveness of the action (translation of the mechanical action into sound).
My qualification to comment on the responsiveness is so much constrained by not being an experienced piano player at all, that I right away have had to skip this part of the investigation. But even as a beginner I for sure could make up my mind on the mechanical key action feeling. After having spent hours in that store, I found a clear ranking. Days later, again for hours in that store, I again found a clear ranking. It was a different ranking. At a 3rd (!) visit I tried to find out how I came to different rankings:

The most interesting finding was, that I once felt that the keyboard from instrument ‘economic’ from company R was so much better than the keyboard from instrument ‘economic’ from company Y, while the ‘luxury’ version from Y felt better than the ‘luxury’ version from R. I logically concluded that a ranking between brands made for the one price range can not blindly be copied to a different price range. After the 2nd visit I checked in the internet, which keyboard models are built into the tested pianos. And guess what: according to this the two instruments from Y have had the same keyboards inside! So, first hand my findings on the keyboards seem to not make sense at all. There seems to be a significant bias coming in from daily mood and chosen test conditions.
I for instance could figure out that my ranking was depending on which(!) acoustic pianos I played before going to the digital pianos. The acoustic pianos felt so individually different, that bias was clearly seeded here, - and this not even depending on the cost of the acoustic piano! I summarized to myself that I personally felt that already the Roland PHA-II keyboard well renders the keyboard feeling of an acoustic piano, but the Roland keyboards of type G or S do not. The difference between a PHA-II (HP-503) and PHA-III (HP-505/507) to me was quite perceptible, but based on my experience with the differences in acoustic piano keyboards I just couldn´t fair minded judge which would be the “better” one, they just felt different. Then, I figured out that the Yamaha GH3 keyboard felt different to me depending to which instruments I have been comparing it (CLP-430 with HP-503 or CLP-440 with HP-505), but I couldn´t feel any difference in the direct comparison of the CLP 430 and 440. Surprisingly, I couldn´t even feel a (mechanical) difference between a CLP 440 and 470 keyboard, maybe the surface touch was different, although the 470 according to commercials should have an ‘even higher class’ keyboard model built in. I finally have had hands on a Kawai CA-65 and CS-6, and I thought to feel a clear difference – but again not in the sense of “better”, just in the sense of “different”.

Finally, the for me resoundingly experience was the finding, that after first playing (in all 3 sessions) all the DPs without sound, just the none-powered mechanics of the instruments, I felt differences and felt personal priorities, but stood unsure for which instrument I best would spend my money on. Up from a certain quality, they in the technical sense would all please me well, and a 2000 EUR instrument in this sense for me could compete with a 4000 EUR instrument. But turning on the sound system and judging on the complete impression on the full instrument, I so quickly changed my opinions that to me it became obvious that it is not a good idea to separate action from sound! I immediately found “my” sound, and this personal attraction could not be beaten by the present differences in keyboard actions. I just love the Roland sound, because it is so filled and warm. The Yamahas and Kawais are much closer to each other in their sound, than to the Roland sound, and for sure personal preferences for their characters will arise as well. But I wouldn´t expect that the not so dramatic sound differences in between the Yamaha and Kawai sounds would let you find your preference for your ‘keyboard+sound combination’ so easily as I found it for me for a Roland with its (to me) superb sound and wonderful keyboard.

Andal, what should you learn from this long personal review as an answer on your initial question?
Touch the instruments and feel them. If _you_ feel a preference for one of them, then that´s your instrument. All arguments from others about the “better” can so much be biased by personal feelings and even daily mood and proximate circumstances, that it will be difficult to fruitful take them into account. I would say though, that the in the forum expressed experiences from others can nicely guide you to which price range you should narrow your personal search to. But based on the others´ opinions I would not narrow the decision down to the individual instrument within your found price range.

All the best! Marco.

#1964089 - 09/25/12 06:36 AM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: andal]
AshwayGap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 36
Loc: Saddleworth UK
Thanks for that very extensive report Marco. It would have been nice to see the comparison between the Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 which is the heading for this thread. They both seems excellent pianos and obviously it will come down to personal preferences. The problem at present being that they are both relatively new and so have not had the playing experience and report back by many people. Ah well, I was heck bent on the Kawai CA95 but will give the Roland DP-90S a try first, although the power output on this does seem rather low.

#1964106 - 09/25/12 07:44 AM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: AshwayGap]
Wuffski Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 546
Loc: Europe (Northern Spain)
Originally Posted By: AshwayGap
Thanks for that very extensive report Marco. It would have been nice to see the comparison between the Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 which is the heading for this thread.

Well, I personally was just taking the chance, while being to an unexpected visit abroad, to calm down my uncertainty of having bought well a HP-505 - at home deep in the province (a service and product desert) without having had a chance to compare it live with anything else before the purchase. I therefore concentrated during my visit in that store mainly on the bigger, furniture style DPs with inbuilt speaker system (Roland HP series, Yamaha CLP series, and Kawai DPs of that style). I was prepared, as fortunatley my budget would alow so, to just give it back and order a different one after a real comparison. I will not exchange it! Imagine how happy I am...
Andal will find in my text, that the Kawai keyboards of the CA-65 and CS-6 to me personally felt even a little bit better than the Roland PHA-III keyboard, but that this by far doesn´t mean that the PHA-III would not be a recommendable keyboard, because in comparison to acoustic pianos they both meet perfectly the standards. To me it is all just about a feeling, because also the acoustic piano keyboards are sooo different. But taking sound into account, to me the sound engine in the Roland DP is just overwhelming. I love it, while the Kawai to me appeared only sufficiently fine. Furthermore, the speaker system of the HP-505 was so much better than anything else in competitors DPs, that subtle differences in the keyboard feelings for me really didn´t influence decision much no more. Andal will find, that his Roland DP of choice has the identical PHA-III keyboard, and the identical SN sound engine, like my HP-505, not the enhanced speaker system though. And he knows already from other forum threads, and from me having touched a CA-65 and a CS-6, that the CA-95 will also be an excellent system. He receives the confirmation that he already narrowed his search down to 2 excellent candidates.

But based on my own recent experiences in finding a decision, he really should conclude that now only himself touching the one and the other candidate can help him doing his decision. I don´t believe that other comments of us could be helpful for him.

#1964122 - 09/25/12 08:49 AM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: andal]
toddy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 2875
Loc: Portugal
It's difficult to get a price for the Roland DP 90s, but I wouldn't be surprised if you can get the same - or better - essential Roland features (PHAIII keyboard action, SN sound etc) much, much cheaper. Features and better can be found on the HP503 or the FP-7f at almost half the price of a Kawai CA95.
Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 Ult. / Focusrite Saffire 24
W7, i7 4770, 16GB / Monitors: Yamaha HS7s .

Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity. He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & heck

#1964139 - 09/25/12 09:38 AM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: andal]
AshwayGap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/12
Posts: 36
Loc: Saddleworth UK
Quick Google for prices on web don't show much for the Roland but I found one store selling the Roland DP-90S for £2,379 compared with Kawai CA95 at £2,470 (average is around £2,500). So it's obvious price isn't going to be the deciding factor between these two pianos.

#1964232 - 09/25/12 12:31 PM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: andal]
UK Paul UK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 396
Loc: Berkshire, England
Wow... I need a break after that lyrical waxing.... just for my two penneth worth... I bought without trying mine but had tried and liked the previous model... I'll wager the two you are considering are noticeably different beasts so try before you buy... I'm happy with mine but everyone's different.... ps the extra over the 65 really made it for me.. the soundboard is a different experience to anything else...

#1964488 - 09/25/12 08:46 PM Re: Roland DP-90S v. Kawai CA 95 [Re: UK Paul UK]
andal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/23/12
Posts: 40
I think if I had more space I would be leaning toward the Kawai CA 95 but I'm just so space-constrained.


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