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Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance #2114777 07/08/13 03:55 PM
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Hi guys

Love this forum. It's like having plug in knowledge.

Anyway, I'm in a quandary. I am upgrading my digital piano and I'm really attracted to the VPC1. I use software pianos, so I don't need on board sounds, speakers, etc. just the midi out. The VPC1 has defined touch curves for my favorite software piano and it looks cool to boot. But...

The CA65 has the new GF keyboard. It's more expensive, by about 1000 euros.

So, my question is this: is the GF keyboard more important /worth the extra 1000 over the RM3 II with touch curves. I play classical. I've played both in the shop, but I'm looking for advice from people who have extensive experience with both.

And when will a VPC2 with GF action be released, so I don't have to decide!

Any help deeply appreciated :-)

Simon


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2114936 07/08/13 10:46 PM
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Yes, many of us here in the forum are afflicted with the same uncertainty. Rather unkind of Kawai to create the controller we have been begging for for so long and then come out with a new action in their console pianos without including it in the controller in question. Misjudged the type of person who uses software pianos, I think.

GF is still relatively new and it's not 100% settled how much better (or worse) it is than RM3. I've seen reviews going both ways on the issue. I haven't been able to touch the GF action yet, but my reading of the reviews makes me think it is indeed a step forward. Of course, an extra 1000 pounds is a considerable sum...

Unfortunately only so many pianos come out per year, so I wouldn't hold my breath for a VPC2. They haven't even really coped with the demand for the VPC1 yet (underestimated it significantly so there are shortages at the moment). We can always hope.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2114941 07/08/13 11:02 PM
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Hello Simon,

The 'Grand Feel' action used in the current generation CA95/CA65 is - in theory at least - superior to the 'RM3 Grand II' action found in the VPC1 and CA15 (the latter entry-level Concert Artist model is not available in the US).

However, I don't believe the difference in action realism is sufficient to justify paying $1000 extra. Of course, this $1000 premium also represents the cabinet, speakers, panel interface, tone generator hardware etc. - not just the action.

In my opinion, if you already have your ideal computer setup, monitor speakers, stand etc., and just need a high quality controller to complete the package, the VPC1 is surely the best option.

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 VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: gvfarns] #2114946 07/08/13 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
Rather unkind of Kawai to create the controller we have been begging for for so long and then come out with a new action in their console pianos without including it in the controller in question.


There were a number of reasons for this decision. One is explained on the VPC website Q&A:

Quote
Why doesn't the VPC1 use Kawai's latest 'Grand Feel' (GF) keyboard action?

The 'Grand Feel' (GF) keyboard action is currently reserved for Kawai's flagship 'Concert Artist' digital piano instruments. Moreover, it would not be possible to include the 'Grand Feel' action in the VPC1 without a considerable increase to the chassis size. Therefore, we decided to utilise an enhanced version of the MP10's 'RM3 Grand' action, which is widely considered the most realistic keyboard action available in a slab-type/portable instrument.


Generally speaking, if it were possible to utilise the 'Grand Feel' action without a major redesign of the existing chassis, while keeping the price at an affordable level, I'm confident it would have been done.

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 VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2114952 07/08/13 11:21 PM
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Thanks guys. My only other concern is to do with support. I have to import the VPC1. If it has a fault, I don't think I'll be covered by Kawai Australia.

James, how important are the customized touch curves in the VPC1? Are they rocket science, or something that is nice but not critical? Sorry for the dumb questions, but this is going to be my long term DP and I want to get it right.

Simon


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2114963 07/08/13 11:54 PM
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Ah, I didn't realise that you were based in Australia...that puts a different spin on things. It's obviously very disappointing that Kawai Australia opted not to introduce the VPC1, however I remain hopeful that they will reconsider their stance, based on the strong sales of other markets.

But yes, importing any digital piano from another country - regardless of manufacturer or model - is not something that I would recommend. With regards to the VPC1, I very much doubt Kawai Australia would be prepared to assist with servicing if the instrument was to be damaged during overseas shipment - certainly with charging for parts and labour, at least.

Originally Posted by stng
James, how important are the customized touch curves in the VPC1? Are they rocket science, or something that is nice but not critical?


I'd say they are important, but not necessarily essential. Bear in mind that many players have been enjoying virtual piano software with their MP8, MP8II, MP10, etc. for years without these 'approved touch curves', simply because the keyboard actions on those boards were among the best available at the time. That being said, however, the extra fine-grained control of a properly calibrated touch curve can make the difference between a very good piano connection and an excellent piano connection.

I think of it like a bowl of ice cream: on its own, a few scoops of ice cream is already a delicious treat, and many people are perfectly happy to eat it straight out of the tub. However, when you add the warm caramel sauce, chopped nuts, and chocolate shavings, the ice cream really comes into its own as a fully-fledged desert. It's the same with the VPC1: the keyboard action alone is already the best available in a slab-type board, so will offer a fantastic playing experience with any piano library, but when you pair it up with an approved touch curves that has been specially created for your preferred packge, it takes things to another level. wink

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 VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2114965 07/09/13 12:04 AM
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Hmmm. I love caramel topping on ice cream...

Wait a minute. That's not why I'm here.

Thanks James. You've just made my decision harder and yet more exquisite. :-)


stng
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2114970 07/09/13 12:41 AM
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Yes, sorry about that...it's 34 degrees outside today, and I think I might have gotten a little lost in the moment.

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 VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: Kawai James] #2115072 07/09/13 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Bear in mind that many players have been enjoying virtual piano software with their MP8, MP8II, MP10, etc. for years without these 'approved touch curves', simply because the keyboard actions on those boards were among the best available at the time.


Speaking of which, is it possible to obtain actual "coordinates" of those approved touch curves for use in other applications? Or is it heavily guarded Kawai's trade secret? wink


"There is nothing to piano playing besides producing the appropriate velocities on the appropriate keys at the appropriate time" (c) qvfarns
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2115105 07/09/13 09:44 AM
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Yes, it's probably possible to read the values by using the VPC editor software.

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 VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: Kawai James] #2115109 07/09/13 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Yes, it's probably possible to read the values by using the VPC editor software.


That was the first thing I tried smile
Without the VPC, the editor only runs in demo mode, and it only shows 30x40 pixel thumbnails, which are pretty much useless. I'm guessing the "edit" button brings up a bigger window where you can see the actual values, but it's not clickable unless a controller is connected.


"There is nothing to piano playing besides producing the appropriate velocities on the appropriate keys at the appropriate time" (c) qvfarns
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2115159 07/09/13 12:39 PM
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Asking for a GF-based controller is like asking for an AvantGrand-based controller. My comment is only in half-jest, though, I would be interested in both, actually grin


I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Had I progressed to playing chords,
I would be 'domisol' shocked
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: doremi] #2115202 07/09/13 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by doremi
Asking for a GF-based controller is like asking for an AvantGrand-based controller. My comment is only in half-jest, though, I would be interested in both, actually grin


I would absolutely be interested in both. I went so far as to solicit a quote for a grand action from a local retailer so I could build my own ersatz AvantGrand with a one of those aftermarket MIDI strips. Ultimately I didn't do it because the cost was significant (though way less than an AG) and I'm not sure those MIDI strips are as good as DP sensors.

Last edited by gvfarns; 07/09/13 02:27 PM.
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: Kawai James] #2115210 07/09/13 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Generally speaking, if it were possible to utilise the 'Grand Feel' action without a major redesign of the existing chassis, while keeping the price at an affordable level, I'm confident it would have been done.


It goes without saying that a GF-based controller would be larger, heavier, perhaps more expensive, and would require a resdesign. But at the end of the day, that's what the customers want and it's not technically infeasible, so I think that's what should be done. The need for a chasis redesign (to me) doesn't sound like a particularly valid concern.

Last edited by gvfarns; 07/09/13 02:31 PM.
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2115238 07/09/13 03:27 PM
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Well, I've decided that the touch curves designed for the VPC1 , the form factor and the price are all compelling enough to buy it. I've been reassured by Thomann.de telling me all of their shipments are fully insured, that they will repair at no cost any defects in the first thirty days and that they fully honour the warranty (paying either for a local repair in Australia or for any warranty repair after I ship it back to them). If I ship it back after 30 days, I would have to pay shipping one way. But they prefer local repair wherever possible. This all sounds worth the risk of importing from overseas.

I'd love a VPC with the GF action, but that's probably years away and also chasing rainbows.


stng
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2115434 07/09/13 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by stng
Well, I've decided that ... all compelling enough to buy it...
Hello Stng,
Allow me: just in case, save a few hundred dollars can be a plus for you ... (Qbert and I bought our VPC1 in this shop)
http://www.merula.com/catalogo/lista/?q=kawai
(CA 65 is 2090€ / VPC1 is 1090€)
Regards


Kawai VPC1/Synthogy American D/Pianoteq 5 Pro/Galaxy Vintage D

"Remember to take the time ... before time takes you"
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: gvfarns] #2115522 07/10/13 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
Originally Posted by Kawai James
Generally speaking, if it were possible to utilise the 'Grand Feel' action without a major redesign of the existing chassis, while keeping the price at an affordable level, I'm confident it would have been done.


It goes without saying that a GF-based controller would be larger, heavier, perhaps more expensive, and would require a resdesign. But at the end of the day, that's what the customers want and it's not technically infeasible, so I think that's what should be done. The need for a chasis redesign (to me) doesn't sound like a particularly valid concern.


+1!!! thumb

K.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2115524 07/10/13 05:07 AM
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Thanks, imyself, for the pointer. I don't read Italian, so I guess I'll contact them and see whether they ship tp Australia and offer the same reassurance as Thomann.de

Downloaded Pianoteq 4.5 today...the stage version. All excited.

Last edited by stng; 07/10/13 05:07 AM.

stng
Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2125146 07/30/13 04:43 AM
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Well, I thought I'd close this thread off. I finally committed to buying a Kawai CA65. I just loved the GF action. I've since got it home and I'm using it with Pianoteq D4 Spacious. Happy with the result. It certainly has fantastic control. I'm tempted to try the sample based software pianos, but at the moment I think I've spent enough. I'm especially enjoying recording my playing, both for study purposes and just to play through my hifi. Thanks everyone for your help.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or CA65? Need guidance [Re: stng] #2125149 07/30/13 05:01 AM
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Congrats!


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
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"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
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