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#2183279 - 11/16/13 09:16 AM Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1
EJT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 28
Loc: South Bend, Indiana
Hi all:

I'm in the position of having owned a NU1 for several months and now having a CS10. I'd like to share my thoughts on the experiences I had. I've covered my disappointing experience with Yamaha customer service in other posts. I'm going to start by confining myself to simply my experiences. I do not play classical music, so my playing tends to be old Gershwin, broadway, Billy Joel/Elton John, some country . . . I played professionally for one year many years ago. But I am not classically trained and won't pretend to differentiate between PPP and PP and P.

NU1 (February 2013-September2013)
Enjoyed the touch as I do like a heavier touch. I never really loved the sound while sitting at the piano as all of the speakers appear to be below keyboard level. If you play back a song while sitting across the room, the NU1 sounds very nice. Sitting at it you feel somewhat disconnected. Headphones do very much improve the experience. I was around 70-30 headphones (I tend to play when the kids are asleep and the wife is out of town). I enjoyed the sound, but never "loved it." I connected both a Mac Mini and a MacBook Pro to it for software instruments. I liked Alicia's Keys, loved Vintage D, and had fun with the Pianoteq demo (Bluthner especially as it's fun to play along with Let it Be). I found myself avoiding the built-in sound as I preferred the software pianos. I had problems with MIDI on the NU1; both the sustain pedal didn't consistently transmit 0 values when completely released and I had random spikes in sound while playing (as MIDI values would jump 40% or more occasionally with no rhyme or reason) (discussed in other threads). The MIDI problem with the pedal didn't show up playing the internal sounds; the random MIDI key spikes did. The dealer offered me my full purchase price ($4300) back, and I took it.

Kawai CS10

I played the CA65/CA95 and the CS7/CS10. I bought the CS10 (for 5600 including delivery). I've had it for around a month. The touch (as explained in other threads) really is apples to bananas (or whatever the prior analogy was). Completely different. I very much enjoy the Kawai's touch. It's different than the NU1 in substantial ways. I don't think either is necessarily "better" or "worse" as touch is SO subjective. Both feel like various acoustic pianos (if that's the standard). One is just heavier (NU1) than the other (CS10). The speakers on the CS10 are infinitely better placed and resonate better in the cabinet in my opinion than the NU1 (and CA95, too). I do enjoy the feeling of the soundboard of the CS10 (though I liked the sound of the CA65 more than the CA95) (I know that's weird, but it was my conclusion). Running software pianos through the CS10 is simple and well thought out (you can adjust the line in volume on the CS10 in additional to whatever tweaks you do on the computer). I do enjoy the Kawai sound moreso than the NU1 (in that I am less likely to switch to software if I'm just messing around for awhile). The MIDI transmissions have been flawless and I've had no goofy jumps in sound. For some reason, I dislike Alicia's Keys on the CS10. I don't know what it is, I think it sounds flat or 2D or whatever. The couple of times I've tried it, I haven't liked it at all. I do love Vintage D through it, and I like the concert grand. I haven't played with the Virtual technician (yet). Overall, it's a fabulous piano and I love it.

Both are very nice instruments. The speakers (for the player) on the CS10 are far superior in placement to the NU1. Touch is too subjective for me to tell anyone "this is better" or "this is worse." I love playing. I don't miss the NU1 touch, but I do recognize it was authentic. But I also like the CS10 feel as well. Both key beds make/made me happy. I don't have one simple recipe what constitutes "the" piano. To me, "the" piano is probably a Steinway Concert D (my uncle imbued with me with a love of Steinways, but I've had the chance to play Bosendorfer and Falcone and the Shigeru Kawai, and anyone who isn't a concert professional who really thinks they can knock any of those is slightly off to me). But given my current situation (and my enjoyment of software pianos coupled with Garageband/iTunes music to play along with), a digital makes all the sense in the world. I played a Shigeru Kawai 9 foot where I demoed the range. Of course that's incredible. And acoustic v. digital is (to me) always going to be different. I was very happy for more than 10 years with a Yamaha P120. I just like to play. I love that my piano is now also appropriate for the living room and not the basement.


Click Here

#2183289 - 11/16/13 09:57 AM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: EJT]
spanishbuddha Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 3001
Loc: UK
Thanks for sharing this. I have an NU1 and have played a CS9 the predecessor to the CS10.

I think the NU1 and CS9/10 are great instruments. The CS9 is probably a better looking cabinet, but just like key actions this may depend on taste or preference. The CS9 keyboard was probably smoother and easier to play than the NU1 which can be difficult to control. I now find most DP actions to be smoother and easier than most acoustic actions. However my adaptation playing between the NU1 and my teachers acoustic is easier and closer, and I have every confidence stepping up to acoustics these days which I never had before.

I was never impressed by the sound of the CS9 or the CA93, the soundboard did nothing for me. So our tastes differ there. As you say the NU1 woofers are below the keybed and pointing forwards, but there are tweeters above at about shoulder level. You can feel some NU1 cabinet vibration, and into the keys coming from the speakers, but what is lacking is a deep growling bass. I installed a sub-woofer to fix this, but now hardly bother to to turn it on when practising.

I have never had the spiking loud notes problem reported elsewhere, maybe my level is not advanced enough (no Liszt or Chopin in my repertoire), or had problems with midi when connecting to an iPad to play SampleTank voices.

#2183334 - 11/16/13 11:52 AM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: EJT]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3510
Loc: Texas
Great reviews. Thanks! By the way, are you running your software pianos back through the speakers on your CS10 or just using computer speakers/headphones?

#2183346 - 11/16/13 12:14 PM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: EJT]
EJT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 28
Loc: South Bend, Indiana
I run back into the piano. In the olden days of the P120, I used the computer. I ran it back on both nu1 and cs10. Really, it's because I like to play along with real recordings.

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#2183407 - 11/16/13 02:13 PM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: EJT]
HwyStar Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/11
Posts: 377
Loc: Reno Nevada
Great reviews guys. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions!
Kawai MP11, iMac 2015, Yamaha HS8's, Sennheiser 650, Focusrite 2i4, Pianoteq 5, Steinway Model A, Mason and Hamlin Model AA
The Kawai Digital Piano Users Forum

#2183619 - 11/16/13 09:26 PM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: EJT]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12795
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Agreed, thanks for sharing thoughts EJT!

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

#2183799 - 11/17/13 08:40 AM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: EJT]
peterws Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 6050
Loc: Northern England.
Well, for what it`s worth, you say you prefer the software pianos. Why bother with the CS10? I`ve just listened to one of them on the Adult Beginners Forum quarterly recital. A most excellent sound which I shall look into. But for a software? Why pay £3000?
"I am not a man. I am a free number"


#2183820 - 11/17/13 09:22 AM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: EJT]
Dave Horne Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5863
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I'm still toying with the idea of buying an NU1 to compliment my N3. I like the more difficult action of the NU1, it really feels like I'm getting a workout.

I'm probably though going to buy an expensive bike (with a Rohloff 14 hub and a carbon fiber belt).

You only live once and there are priorities. smile

website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 (ordered, waiting on delivery) | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones

#2183938 - 11/17/13 01:58 PM Re: Kawai CS10 and Yamaha NU1 [Re: Dave Horne]
peterws Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 6050
Loc: Northern England.
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I'm still toying with the idea of buying an NU1 to compliment my N3. I like the more difficult action of the NU1, it really feels like I'm getting a workout.

I'm probably though going to buy an expensive bike (with a Rohloff 14 hub and a carbon fiber belt).

You only live once and there are priorities. smile

You might like this, Dave , . .

"I am not a man. I am a free number"



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