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Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences #2274646 05/12/14 07:14 AM
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lophiomys Offline OP
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Hi All,

More or less I am a proud new owner of a Kawai MP7 (v1.03) and want do discuss some issues, which I noticed as differences to an old Roland RD500. The feel of the RH2 action of the MP7 (tested in the showroom), the user interface, the feature/price ratio, and the looks made me buy one as the best compromise of all those factors.

a) Humming
My MP-7 emits a constant humming from the power adapter inside the case.
The noise level of the humming would not matter on a stage, but is annoying in a living room.
I do not understand why Kawai would not use quiet power transformers in a musical instrument, as those are technically available in 2014.

b) Base plate resonance
With my MP7 (lot 142) I discovered, that there is quite a harsh stop to the key travel,
which results in a low frequency body resonance with the base plate of the case, kind of thumping noise.
This is especially noticeable, in the two octaves on the right of the middle (C4 - C6), e.g. playing a single voice in a fugue.
Pushing with the flat hand from below against the base board, reduces this effect a little bit.

With my 15 year old RD500 the keys are properly damped in the key-bed and no resonance with the casing,even when hitting the key hard.
I did NOT notice this, with the other MP7 model in the showroom, and it will be investigated together with the dealer in due future,
if this would be a small production fault or not.
I wonder if there is anyone else experiencing this?

c) Sound of the piano samples
Normally I am not picky about piano sound.
But first with my old mono PA monitor speaker and then more so with new Beyerdynamic 990 headphones
I noticed strange ringing effects with some notes of the Studio Grand and therefore began to listen closer.
With the MP7 e.g. most prominent on F5# I hear some tiny wah-wah effect, or a very distant buzz saw.
This is aggravated, when the Stereo Width is reduced to 0. Any idea why?

Turning OFF all effects, resonances and "action noises" did not improve it. A factory reset was also done.
With the "Mono Piano" on the MP7 I perceive it as even worse. (Just as an example, I don't need to use it.)
Again, I did not notice this with the showroom sample of the MP7 using the very same headphones.

For comparison I reactivated the old RD500 and there is a clean F5# to be heard.
Tough the sound sample on the RD500 is short and ends abruptly.
I also re-rooted my hearing on a freshly tuned upright acoustic piano, and my perception about those artifacts with the MP7 piano sounds remain the same.

Personally I have the impression, that with the the MP7 the tone duration is much longer than on the RD500,
but - boldly speaking - that the sound quality might not have improved over the past 15 years.
Am I fooled by my own hearing ?
What are your thoughts on this?















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Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274659 05/12/14 07:40 AM
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lophiomys, thank you for your feedback.

a) I have never noticed a hum from power transformer on the MP7 in my office, even when I'm on the only person in the room. I will try putting my ear to that area tomorrow morning to see if I can hear anything.

b) I don't have any comment about this point.

c) I would not recommend listening to the MP7's stereo samples in mono, nor reducing the StereoWidth parameter to 0, which is likely to introduce phasing issues. The tonal characteristic you are hearing was probably present on the original grand piano when sampled. Again, I will have to listen to the MP7 in my office tomorrow morning.

Originally Posted by lophiomys
Personally I have the impression, that with the the MP7 the tone duration is much longer than on the RD500,
but - boldly speaking - that the sound quality might not have improved over the past 15 years.
Am I fooled by my own hearing ?


I wonder if your ears are simply used to the sound of the RD500? I recall a similar case with a long-term FP-4 user who preferred the sound of his older board to the latest offerings from Nord and Yamaha. Moreover, the tonal character of a Kawai is very different to that of a Roland (presumably a Steinway sample), making direct comparisons a little difficult.

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 MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274665 05/12/14 07:44 AM
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The humming noise is not something I´ve heard in my MP7.

Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274753 05/12/14 10:21 AM
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lophiomys Offline OP
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Hello James,

Thanks for your friendly feedback.

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It's not the case, that I was playing on the RD500 for the last decade, only for about the last four months, after a long period of abstinence. The sound artifacts are in my perception more of the artificial kind, which is not present in the old RD500 sample.

Also not long ago I have played with a real Kawai grand, one of the smaller ones, and I was impressed by its sound. (Having grown up with with a grand and pianos by Yamaha.) I would never have associated any of those "odd noises" in my MP7 with the sound characteristics of this Kawai grand.

Anyway I will take in your advice and try to adjust my hearing for a few more days.
Thanks again.







Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274793 05/12/14 11:20 AM
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lophiomys…

I am the proud owner of an MP6. I've used it daily over the past three years. Never have I heard a humming noise, and I use a stereo amplifier with speakers. This in itself warrants an exchange of the board, if there is no other explanation. My experience with Kawai is that customer service is extraordinary, and that they want you to have a good experience.

As far as the "thumping" sounds, even after 3 years of daily use my keys remain quiet. Not silent, but quiet. I can't hear the key action when using a headset, set at low volume. When playing with the speakers, I can hear the keys but only if I force myself to concentrate on their sound and not the music. I have tried out boards from Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Casio, etc., and have found the key sounds from the MP6 to be much quieter than anything I have played to date.

One of the things I have absolutely loved about the MP6 is its "tweak ability." I have noted too that other new owners of the MP7 here in the forums have mentioned initial chagrin with the piano samples, but have been able to adjust the sound through the virtual tech much more to their liking. Here's hoping that will work for you.

My position about your issues is that you have a warranty for your purchase. I believe that customer satisfaction is the goal for Kawai, and James is a great example of how that works. If your issues with your new board can't be resolved, I would have no misgivings about a return or an exchange. You've spent your money, you've earned the right to an excellent product.

I am going to purchase the MP7 in the Summer as an update for my MP6. The issues that have been shared here in the forums do cause me concern. However, I am confident that Kawai stands behind what they sell. Please keep us posted as to the resolution of the problems you have discovered with your new purchase.

Regards,
H.K.




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Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274854 05/12/14 01:06 PM
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I had an MP6 for a while and also noticed a mains hum. I found it quite annoying and I decided to upgrade to an MP10 which was much quieter in operation. Maybe there was a batch of MP6s with this problem as other people report no noise problem. I certainly noticed it every time I switched it on. I have been very happy with my MP10 which I use as my recording studio master keyboard.

Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274910 05/12/14 02:23 PM
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Hi lophiomys,

I have received my MP7 today. Mine is also from LOT142 (24FEB2014) and 230V model.
My unit is dead silent - no hum/noise whatsoever.
After reading your post, I have also played it with headphones and monitors off - I can also feel what you call base plate resonance. When I hit the keys hard with my right hand slightly touching the bottom cover I can feel the chassis resonate.
Also I hear from time to time some strange noises - like some flanged or analog tape-delay fast forward sounds - but its rare. Since I am not a pianist, all I can practice is single note patterns frown


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Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274919 05/12/14 02:41 PM
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The CA95 had a problem with humming transformers - don't know if you've read the thread, but here it is. Turns out it's insufficient damping of the transformer's vibration which causes the casing to make the hum, rather than the transformer making the hum itself. It's easy to fix (in the CA95) by adding extra silicone washers.

If you're talking about the second F# from the top of the keyboard (which in Kawai-land is F#5, but F#6 to everyone else), then I can hear what I think you're describing. Appears to be there in the sample. Can't say I've ever noticed it before, and it's pretty hard to make out. I don't think it sounds bad.


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Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2274928 05/12/14 03:00 PM
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lophiomys Offline OP
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Thanks for your contributions.

lolatu, I mean the second F# to the right of the middle C.
This is just the tone, where I notice those strange effects most prominently.
And it is always there whenever I play the piano sounds. I am hoping, I can get used to it.




Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275066 05/12/14 07:05 PM
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lophiomys, I checked the MP7 here in my office this morning.

a) In order to hear any power 'hum' I have to place my ear directly to the instrument, above the power inlet. If my ear is not touching the instrument, I cannot hear the hum.

c) I could not hear any problem with the F# key you highlighted, nor any other keys (or other F# keys) in this area. I uploaded a quick WAV recording here for reference.

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 MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: Bourgeois] #2275080 05/12/14 07:49 PM
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Bourgeois, congrats on your MP7!

Originally Posted by Bourgeois
Also I hear from time to time some strange noises - like some flanged or analog tape-delay fast forward sounds - but its rare.


Are you applying effects to the sounds?
If not can you perhaps upload a recording and provide some steps to recreate the sound you are hearing, please?

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 MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: Kawai James] #2275253 05/13/14 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
...
c) I could not hear any problem with the F# key you highlighted, nor any other keys (or other F# keys) in this area. I uploaded a quick WAV recording here for reference.


Hello James,
Thank you for your recording.
I do not hear those "odd artifacts" on your recording, but you also play the tones quite quickly. I do hold the tone a bit longer. I will try/learn to make a recording with the recorder in my MP7 and check if it would be audible on the recording and then post it.
Kind Regards,
LoPHi

Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275260 05/13/14 03:59 AM
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Is any of the APs in the MP7 relationed with those in ES7?
I mean, coming from the same sample session.
I ask this because in my ES7 there's a weird F5#, too. When played piano, it has a very short attack and a strange decay that dies toy-like, even out of tune. I could provide some recording if you wish.


Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
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Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275288 05/13/14 06:21 AM
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Burgeois,
I think I heard the sound, you where referring to in some WAV recordings only.

James,
I have made three WAV recordings with the MP7 directly onto the USB stick. Links below.

The "odd artifacts" are on the recordings. Whereby I just learned that with a 250Ohms Beyerdynamic headphone on the MacBook it sounds a bit damped. With a lower impedance headphone it is more clear on the laptop headphone jack.

Additionally to the issues reported earlier, two of the recordings do show some crackling and very strange "analogue delay noises" while playing legato, which I did not hear before, nor during the recording. From this I conclude, that there definitely something wrong in this MP7, which I named "Hugo" for reference. Hugo is going to be returned to the dealer.

Hugo MP7 V103 Concert Grand F#5 with recording glitch
Hugo MP7 V103 Concert Grand Bach Intro
Hugo MP7 V103 Mono Piano Default F#5

(Please let me know, if the links should not work.)
HTH





Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275305 05/13/14 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by lophiomys
Burgeois,
I think I heard the sound, you where referring to in some WAV recordings only.

James,
I have made three WAV recordings with the MP7 directly onto the USB stick. Links below.

The "odd artifacts" are on the recordings. Whereby I just learned that with a 250Ohms Beyerdynamic headphone on the MacBook it sounds a bit damped. With a lower impedance headphone it is more clear on the laptop headphone jack.

Additionally to the issues reported earlier, two of the recordings do show some crackling and very strange "analogue delay noises" while playing legato, which I did not hear before, nor during the recording. From this I conclude, that there definitely something wrong in this MP7, which I named "Hugo" for reference. Hugo is going to be returned to the dealer.

Hugo MP7 V103 Concert Grand F#5 with recording glitch
Hugo MP7 V103 Concert Grand Bach Intro
Hugo MP7 V103 Mono Piano Default F#5

(Please let me know, if the links should not work.)
HTH






RE glitch: I encountered some of the strange things you did with my MP11. James then recommended I try a higher-quality USB drive (name-brand) that had nothing else on it, wasn't super huge storage, and formatted on the MP11. Once I did this there were no issues on the recording end of things.

Not sure what I was supposed to hear wrong in the 2nd clip, sounded good to me, but I wasn't really clear on the issue I was listening for.

3rd clip: How does it sound in stereo? Is there a reason you're doing this in mono? It is my understanding that all DPs sound better in stereo. I'm not really sure what I'm hearing it worth returning the MP7 - Hugo.

I just played the F#5 on my MP11, and then I put the Stereo Width to 0, it sounded terrible, so be sure to crank that up. That note, which is the same sample as what the MP7 has, I believe, sounded fine.

Can you do one more recording of that note in stereo with the stereo width at a higher setting?


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Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: Morodiene] #2275312 05/13/14 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

3rd clip: How does it sound in stereo? Is there a reason you're doing this in mono? It is my understanding that all DPs sound better in stereo. I'm not really sure what I'm hearing it worth returning the MP7 - Hugo.

I just played the F#5 on my MP11, and then I put the Stereo Width to 0, it sounded terrible, so be sure to crank that up. That note, which is the same sample as what the MP7 has, I believe, sounded fine.

Can you do one more recording of that note in stereo with the stereo width at a higher setting?


Hugo is not primarily returned because of issue c), but because of a) and b) and the newly discovered recording glitches.

The 3rd clip is the "Mono Piano" sound (4B)with all settings at default, i.e. in Stereo Width=127.
Since James told me not to tamper with Stereo Width, I left it at its default value of 127 (factory reset).

Kind Regards,
LoPHi

PS:
The USB stick, I use, is one of the best you can buy.


Last edited by lophiomys; 05/13/14 07:20 AM. Reason: PS:
Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275322 05/13/14 07:26 AM
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lophiomys, thank you for the recordings.

First off, the recording glitch in the first recording is likely due to the USB stick used. I have an old, branded 1gb stick that always records perfectly. However, using a newer, larger capacity, unbranded device often results in audio errors, similar to those heard at 24 seconds in your first link.

Regarding the sound itself, may I ask you to clarify that these were recordings were produced with the default sound settings (i.e. immediately after selecting 'Reset All' in the SYSTEM menu?

I do hear a 'ringing' like sound in the first note of 'MP7v103-Hugo-ConGrand-Fs5-b-recording-glitch.wav'.

The 'MP7v103-Hugo-ConGrand-Bach-BWV925.wav' sounds fine to me. The only comment I would make is that the 'Fall Back Noise' virtual technician parameter is too pronounced.

In 'MP7v103-Hugo-MonoPiano-default-Fs5.wav' I do hear a phasing sound towards the end of the decay (approximately 24 seconds).

Originally Posted by lophiomys
...two of the recordings do show some crackling and very strange "analogue delay noises" while playing legato, which I did not hear before


May I ask you to clarify which recordings, and at what point specifically.

Originally Posted by lophiomys
From this I conclude, that there definitely something wrong in this MP7, which I named "Hugo" for reference. Hugo is going to be returned to the dealer.


I'm sorry to read that you are not satisfied with the MP7. I'm afraid I do not know if the characteristics you are hearing are part of the instrument's sound samples, or whether there is a hardware problem with your instrument.

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 MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275335 05/13/14 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by lophiomys
Originally Posted by Morodiene

3rd clip: How does it sound in stereo? Is there a reason you're doing this in mono? It is my understanding that all DPs sound better in stereo. I'm not really sure what I'm hearing it worth returning the MP7 - Hugo.

I just played the F#5 on my MP11, and then I put the Stereo Width to 0, it sounded terrible, so be sure to crank that up. That note, which is the same sample as what the MP7 has, I believe, sounded fine.

Can you do one more recording of that note in stereo with the stereo width at a higher setting?


Hugo is not primarily returned because of issue c), but because of a) and b) and the newly discovered recording glitches.

The 3rd clip is the "Mono Piano" sound (4B)with all settings at default, i.e. in Stereo Width=127.
Since James told me not to tamper with Stereo Width, I left it at its default value of 127 (factory reset).

Kind Regards,
LoPHi

PS:
The USB stick, I use, is one of the best you can buy.



Well, try another stick because when I switched to a different one (Kingston, forget how many gigs, but relatively small) I never had that recording glitch again, and it was the exact same thing you had. I'm saying this because you may encounter that issue with Hugo II (assuming you get another Hugo to replace your current Hugo).

I agree the humming noise is disconcerting, and you should get a different one since that is not typical.


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Re: Kawai MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275343 05/13/14 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by lophiomys
Hugo is not primarily returned because of issue c), but because of a) and b) and the newly discovered recording glitches.


For clarification, what were issues a, b, and c?

Morodiene's advice regarding the USB stick is correct. Please try formatting on the MP itself, and if you're still noticing glitches, try an alternative stick.

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 MP7 vs old Roland RD500 - experiences [Re: lophiomys] #2275358 05/13/14 08:21 AM
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The stick is a new (from the box) Super Talent Pico-C, 8GB, USB 2.0, FAT32 . I have a dozen of those and never had a single problem with them. Very odd, but I take your word for it. IMO, I'd have a look at the USB implementation in the MP7, or deliver a matching USB stick with the device.

Hugo was factory reset last night in preparation to being put back in the box. I switched it on this morning without any modification just for the recording.

The crackling noise I heard only when listening to one of the recordings on the MP7, directly after it was recorded. I could not find it again on any of the other wav's it have recorded. Probably I forgot to save it. Sorry.
I'll see if I can reproduce it.
UPDATE 2014-05-16: There is some "crackling" at 00:30s in file "Hugo MP7 V103 Mono Piano Default F#5".

For the "Fallback noise", it took me some time to differentiate this from the "thumping noise" coming from the real resonating casing/base plate of the keyboard. This is much clearer on the WAV recording, compared playing and listening right in front of Hugo, where both effects are mingled together.









Last edited by lophiomys; 05/16/14 10:37 AM.
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