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Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
#2370560 01/07/15 06:36 AM
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Hello everyone, this i my first post on this forum. I have been a reader for a long time but now it was the time for me to join you all at Pianoworld.

I am now searching for a new digital piano since I want to start playing again on a more serious (amateur)level. I have had a 5 year break of playing since music college in Sweden and am now residing in India. Here the prices are a but higher than in the US and EU due to high import taxes unfortunately. But i have visited a Kawai and a Yamaha Showroon in my city.

My budget is around 2000 USD, with an approximate conversion rate. Prices mentioned are after the store discounts.

I prefer to have a bit of resistance in the keys, so that the transition to an acoustic piano won't be too difficult.The models I have tried are Kawai CN25, CA15, Yamaha Arius-162, CLP-525, CLP-545.

As for the CN25 (1550 USD) I liked the overall sound but found the keys to be on the very lighter side and wobbling on quick release. The CA15 (2025 USD) was indeed nice, and had more weight in the keys due to the wood I guess, which made it more firm and also had a good response in dynamics.

The Arius YDP-162 (1420 USD) felt ok to play on key-wise, but didn't give such a good response in playing ppp and ff, might be because there are only 2 sensors?

The CLP-525 (1930 USD) key action was much too heavy for me, got exhausted in fingers and wrists very quickly. The CLP-545 (2500 USD) was very nice and much lighter to play on than the 525. And I also like the sound of the Bösendorfer sampling, though this model is a bit pricey for my budget.

I am now thinking that the CLP-535 (2020 USD) would be suitable for me due to the different key action (GHX3) from the 525. I don't need a lot of extra rythms and sounds, so that's why I am leaning towards the 535 which also has the Bösendorfer sampling, and a USB-recording option.

The bad thing is that the CLP-535 is for order only so no possibility to try it out first. What is your experience and feelings about the 535?

The Kawai CA15 is also a good choice but costs more than the 535 here (same price in Sweden). And may also lack some technical aspects due to being a bit older than the newly released 535. But the CA15 and CLP-535 I guess is on top of the list as for now.

I would really appreciate your inputs and opinions about the mentioned models. I may have written a bit too much but wanted to give you an idea of my thinking.

Thanks for taking your time!
/Ibrahim


Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2370570 01/07/15 07:27 AM
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Ibrahim, welcome to the forum.

It's perhaps worth noting that the CLP-525, CLP-535, and CLP-545 all have different keyboard actions, so the latter two models especially may not necessarily feel the same.

CLP-525: GH3 (Graded Hammer 3) keyboard with synthetic ivory keytops
CLP-535: GH3X (Graded Hammer 3X) keyboard with synthetic ivory keytops, escapement
CLP-545: NWX (Natural Wood X) keyboard with synthetic ivory keytops (wood is used for the white keys), escapement

Kind regards,
James
x


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Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2370598 01/07/15 09:33 AM
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Thank you very much James!

It's a very good point you made. Since I liked the CLP-545 keyboard action doesn't mean I will like it on the CLP-535. So it would be nice to hear from any one that have had the opportunity to try it, since they won't order it for display at the Yamaha Showroom here..

I really liked the Kawai CA15 keyboard action, is there anything in between the CN25 and CA15 with similar weight and feel in the keys? And are all the keys on the CA15 wooden, or only the whites as on the CLP-545?

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2370605 01/07/15 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Maharaja
I really liked the Kawai CA15 keyboard action, is there anything in between the CN25 and CA15 with similar weight and feel in the keys?


No, I'm afraid not. The CN25/CN35 utilise the plastic key RHIII action, the CA15 utilises the wooden key RM3 Grand II action, while the CA95/CA65 utilise the wooden key Grand Feel action.

Originally Posted by Maharaja
And are all the keys on the CA15 wooden, or only the whites as on the CLP-545?


All 88 keys are wooden, also the entire key is made of wood.

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: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2370606 01/07/15 09:51 AM
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Hi Maharaja!

Sounds like you are having the same dilemma as myself smile

I was informed, and indeed the Kawai UK website confirms, that all 88 keys are wooden on the CA15.

The only thing that put me off the CA15 was that the interface is not as 'dynamic' in that you have to use the keys to acess the sound library. Also there is no USB slot/Audio in on the CA15 as far as I am aware.

I am very much torn between the CA65 and the Yamaha CLP575...so I understand where you are coming from smile

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Elephant Stone #2370619 01/07/15 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
No, I'm afraid not. The CN25/CN35 utilise the plastic key RHIII action, the CA15 utilises the wooden key RM3 Grand II action, while the CA95/CA65 utilise the wooden key Grand Feel action

All 88 keys are wooden, also the entire key is made of wood.


Okay, I actually liked the CA15 due to its more "realistic" feel and touch, but am a bit worried that it will come new updated models of equivalent price range from Kawai soon. Compared with the CLP-series that were released quite recently. I might be wrong on that though.

Originally Posted by Elephant Stone
Sounds like you are having the same dilemma as myself smile

The only thing that put me off the CA15 was that the interface is not as 'dynamic' in that you have to use the keys to acess the sound library. Also there is no USB slot/Audio in on the CA15 as far as I am aware.

I am very much torn between the CA65 and the Yamaha CLP575...so I understand where you are coming from smile


Hi Elephant Stone!

Indeed it is a big process finding a suitable digital piano, that is the "one"! But a fun process as well.
I was feeling the same about the CA15 interface and recording options. But then again my main goal is to play and feel comfortable with the sound, touch and feeling first, and not be too swayed by technical options. So I am a bit torn too haha.

Have you by chance had a go with the CLP-535, and if so how does it compare to you with the CA15?

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2370804 01/07/15 06:20 PM
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The 535 (I think) and higher have the new CFX sounds too. I would not consider the 525.

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2370813 01/07/15 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Maharaja
Originally Posted by Kawai James
No, I'm afraid not. The CN25/CN35 utilise the plastic key RHIII action, the CA15 utilises the wooden key RM3 Grand II action, while the CA95/CA65 utilise the wooden key Grand Feel action

All 88 keys are wooden, also the entire key is made of wood.


Okay, I actually liked the CA15 due to its more "realistic" feel and touch, but am a bit worried that it will come new updated models of equivalent price range from Kawai soon. Compared with the CLP-series that were released quite recently. I might be wrong on that though.

Originally Posted by Elephant Stone
Sounds like you are having the same dilemma as myself smile

The only thing that put me off the CA15 was that the interface is not as 'dynamic' in that you have to use the keys to acess the sound library. Also there is no USB slot/Audio in on the CA15 as far as I am aware.

I am very much torn between the CA65 and the Yamaha CLP575...so I understand where you are coming from smile


Hi Elephant Stone!

Indeed it is a big process finding a suitable digital piano, that is the "one"! But a fun process as well.
I was feeling the same about the CA15 interface and recording options. But then again my main goal is to play and feel comfortable with the sound, touch and feeling first, and not be too swayed by technical options. So I am a bit torn too haha.

Have you by chance had a go with the CLP-535, and if so how does it compare to you with the CA15?


I find the RM3 action as in the CA15 to be one of the most realistic especially if you like a heavier action. If they do update it hope then that they leave that action in and just update the sound engine and speakers.

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371053 01/08/15 08:21 AM
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Maharaja. If I am being honest I preferred the action on the CA15 but perhaps the tone in the CLP535.

Please don't take any of my comments as anything but what I heard at the time, as I am a novice myself.

I thought the CA15 sounded a tad blurry on the lower end, however this could have been nothing more than something in that particular DP. From reports I've had that doesn't seem to be a complaint in the CA15 as a whole.

As I say I thought the interface and no line in was a disappointment on the CA15, otherwise very much worth a look. The CLP535 seemed a very capable instrument to me, I enjoyed the sound and tone, but perhaps not the action as much as the CA15

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371060 01/08/15 08:47 AM
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Elephant Stone, I really appreciate your input on this.

I know that the experience is personal, but it still gives an idea on how it can work out.
If the key action is more similar to the 545 even though beneath it, I guess it can work for me. But if it is more like the 525 action which was very heavy and uncomfortable I would directly pass on it.

As I read someone saying in your post, that it might come new updated models of the CA-range quite soon it might be a good idea to wait for a bit. The CA15 action was indeed very nice mainly in the key action. But then again I don't want to hold back on the buying for too long. Since it will always come something newer and better up the road.

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371073 01/08/15 09:48 AM
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No worries at all mate!

I found the CLP535 action a fair degree better than the 525..and with the Bossendorfer option well worth the extra 3 hundred odd quid alone.

Yes the 545 action is better, but you can always spend that few hundred pounds more for that bit more quality...I've considered it many times but it really comes down to what you can sensibly afford and justify. Either the CLP535 or CA15 would be good choices depending on what you are looking to do with it IMO


Last edited by Elephant Stone; 01/08/15 10:35 AM.
Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Elephant Stone #2371088 01/08/15 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Elephant Stone
I found the CLP535 action a fair degree better than the 525..and with the Bossendorfer option well worth the extra 3 hundred odd quid alone.


That is good news about key action (though subjective), and I also liked the Bösendorfer sampling a lot. If the action is better as well as the piano sound it is worth the extra money in my opinion from the 525.

But as you say there is a limit on how much one can add on. I could stretch up till the 545 in price, but for now I don't think it is worth it, since I am mainly going to practice on it.

The CA15 is more costly here than the CLP-535, of some odd reason. In Sweden where I come from the CA15 is the cheaper one. I am also thinking about the USB-recording options which is nice to have, and which is excluded on the CA15, though you can work around it with the MIDI-connection. So it seems like you get more for the money with the CLP-535 concerning interface sounds and recording. Though I still think the CA15 key action was very good, which is of big importance in picking the right model too.

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371091 01/08/15 11:21 AM
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The CA15 is more expensive here in the uk. 1499 compared to 1311 for CLP535. I would imagine as a result of wooden keys throughout.

It's a tough decision, but I have to say I think either or will end up being a good purchase.

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371102 01/08/15 11:49 AM
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Are your prices in £ or € ? Because www.thomann.uk lists CA-15 at £1,288 (€1,645) and CLP535 at £1,291 (€1,649) - so CA15 is actually cheaper at least in that shop.


Kawai CA65 :: Galaxy: Vintage D, Vienna Grand, Giant :: Pianoteq 5 :: Kontakt 5 :: Reaper :: True Keys pianos
Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371106 01/08/15 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Maharaja
[quote=Elephant Stone]I am also thinking about the USB-recording options which is nice to have, and which is excluded on the CA15, though you can work around it with the MIDI-connection. So it seems like you get more for the money with the CLP-535 concerning interface sounds and recording.

If you think of the use of a MIDI sequencer on the PC, a USB link or a MIDI link is equivalent and MIDI-USB adaptors are cheap.
The main difference is that you could record on the built-in recorder of the piano and use Yamaha Music Downloader to exchange the recorded file.



Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Elephant Stone #2371113 01/08/15 12:16 PM
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I am acually buying in Indian rupees so the conversion rate varies day to day, since I am spending in SEK, Swedish krona.

But in Sweden it is just £24 and €32 difference between the CA15 and CLP-535 (before discount). The CA15 being the cheapest.

Here in India the difference is £210 and €266 between the two (before discount). The CLP-535 being the cheaper one.

Been quoted £1339, €1700 for the CLP-535 and £1422, €1815 for the CA15 (after discount) from the showrooms a few days before.

Last edited by Maharaja; 01/08/15 12:52 PM.
Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
PtJaa #2371125 01/08/15 12:42 PM
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PtJaa. I was going by UK retail store prices. Thomann is based in Germany.

The CA15 is listed in every single UK showroom I have visited (around 10 or so both big and small dealers) as £1499 and the Yamaha CLP535 at £1315

I have no doubt you can get it cheaper, but these are what they are on for in every UK retail outlet I have experienced. No doubt you can buy cheaper but that's the average.

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Frédéric L #2371162 01/08/15 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
If you think of the use of a MIDI sequencer on the PC, a USB link or a MIDI link is equivalent and MIDI-USB adaptors are cheap.
The main difference is that you could record on the built-in recorder of the piano and use Yamaha Music Downloader to exchange the recorded file.


Frédéric L, I actually don't have any experience or knowledge onhow a proper MIDI setup works. So for me it seems more easy and comfortable if there is an built-in recorder to be honest. I like the option to be able to record myself for the personal evaluation of my sound, and to be able to share it with others. But I think that if I get a DP without USB-recording option I certainly could get the hang of how the MIDI-recording would work out in some time.

Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371205 01/08/15 03:51 PM
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I think I have made a confusion : I was thinking of USB-to-PC link which is quite similar with a MIDI link. You are talking about USB-to-dev which enable a direct recording to a USB key. And you are right, on the CLP535, it could be done directly in a WAV file which is suitable for sharing with others (MIDI files doesn't contains the sound of the piano and playing them on a PC will sound different.)


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Buying a new digital piano - Kawai vs Yamaha - input needed
Maharaja #2371286 01/08/15 05:36 PM
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If you are considering Yamaha and comparing the 535 and the 545 here are their differences:

535 / 545

GH3X (Graded Hammer with Escapement) / NWX (Natural Wood with Escapement)
NONE / 20 Rhythm options
30W x 2 Speakers / (25W + 25W) x 2 speakers

So in short you are getting "in theory" a better keyboard and better speakers.

I am not sure of the price bump from the 535 to the 545 ... but it might be worth it.

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