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#2465074 - 09/30/15 11:52 AM Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action  
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I finally got around to testing the Kawai "Grand Feel" action versus the "RM3 Grand II".
Since I have been lurking this forum for a couple of weeks now, I decided this would be a good time to register and submit my first post.

My finding is that the RM3II requires more force to play, it feels a bit clunky and is great for pop/rock.
Where as the GF feels softer, smooth and more relaxed; more suited for classical playing in that regard.
Now I know I said "clunky" on the RM3II, and although that might suggest a negative experience, it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Neither is the "smooth" comment for the GF necessarily a good thing.
I highly recommend testing these out for your own, everybody has their own experience and it's really worth the effort.

So these are all my humble findings.
In conclusion; my preference leans towards the Grand Feel action.

Unfortunately, the Kawai VPC1 that I've had my eyes on comes with the RM3II action.
So I'm just echoing the need that I've read and heard about for that hypothetical "VPC2" with Grand Feel action mechanics.

(Please note that I'm not saying the RM3II action or VPC1 is bad; all I'm hinting towards is that it could *even* be better - which in it's own right is a highly personal opinion and in no way a generalization.)

I'm a composer/producer that solely utilizes the so-called 'master keyboard' function of a digital piano.
I've had a Kawai MP8 for the past 8 years, loved it all this time and still do.
But except for the modulation wheel I don't use any of its added functions or onboard sounds.
I'm looking for a decent and simple board to replace the MP8.
The VPC1 comes close, but I don't feel inclined enough to go for it.


My wish list:

* A VPC2 with Grand Feel (II) action - or even better.
>> The "even better" comment refers to the fact that Kawai could make a smart move by including their very best (...) piano action in a product that is indeed designed to do just that - if you know what I mean.

* Perhaps the sole inclusion of a modulation and pitch bend wheel on the side.
>> I would miss these guys, my MP8 has them and especially the mod wheel comes in handy for basic tone variation on VST instruments.

* And while I'm nitpicking, the manufacturer might want to replace the 1/4" jacks on the pedal board with decent 90° angled Neutrik ones.
>> This is something users can do themselves (costs about € 10 for the pair of Neutriks).
But not everyone can handle a solder iron and in any case it might compromise the warranty.
It could be a nice move of Kawai to show that they even tend to this kind of detail.

Last edited by DeskDesign; 09/30/15 12:01 PM.
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#2465083 - 09/30/15 12:16 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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I don`t understand you, RM3 is equal quality as Grand feel, the only difference is length of the keys. So, if you say that RM3 is clunky, so is Grand feel, but neither one is clunky. Yes, Grand feel is a bit easy to press. You say - Unfortunately, the Kawai VPC1 that I've had my eyes on comes with the RM3II action - Why unfortunately ? It is a great action, if you want more realistic, then seat in a front of acoustic grand piano. Lots of people prefer shorter keys on VPC1, Kawai is the only that put such of quality in the body of the stage piano for that price. For the price of Kawai VPC1 there is no similar quality in other brands. Kawai VPC1 is designed for true piano lovers, so who will need a pitch wheel ? If you want that, then take Kawai MP11. It has all that you want. Kawai VPC2 with the pitch wheel, grand feel, etc, will be cost almost the same as MP11, so it is not logic.

Last edited by slobajudge; 09/30/15 12:50 PM.
#2465097 - 09/30/15 12:53 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: slobajudge]  
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Originally Posted by slobajudge
I don`t understand you, RM3 is equal quality as Grand feel, the only difference is length of the keys. So, if you say that RM3 is clunky, so is Grand feel, but neither one is clunky. Yes, Grand feel is a bit easy to press. You say - Unfortunately, the Kawai VPC1 that I've had my eyes on comes with the RM3II action - Why unfortunately ? It is a great action, if you want more realistic, then seat in a front of acoustic grand piano. Lots of people prefer shorter keys on VPC1, Kawai is the only that put such of quality in the body of the stage piano for that price. For the price of Kawai VPC1 there is no similar quality in other brands. Kawai VPC1 is designed for true piano lovers, so who will need a pitch wheel ? If you want that, then take Kawai MP11. It has all that you want. Kawai VPC2 with the pitch wheel, grand feel will be cost almost the same as MP11, so it is not logic.

DeskDesign didn't say he wanted 'more realistic ' (although whether the
VPC1 provides that can be debated), just that he preferred the Grand Feel. He gave some reasons for that preference, that's enough, no need to challenge his preference using your logic. smile

#2465221 - 09/30/15 07:21 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Interesting discussion - thank you for your post DeskDesign, and welcome to the forum.

Regarding the pitchbend/modulation wheel, I would appreciate hearing your argument for including these controllers on a piano-focussed product.

Kind regards,
James
x


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Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
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#2465234 - 09/30/15 08:13 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Interesting discussion - thank you for your post DeskDesign, and welcome to the forum.

Regarding the pitchbend/modulation wheel, I would appreciate hearing your argument for including these controllers on a piano-focussed product.

Kind regards,
James
x


I know you didn't ask me, James, but I feel very much the same as Deskdesign. My argument is: yes I would use such a controller mostly for piano, but also for other sounds that I would use mod/pitch bending for. I prefer to play weighted keyboards for all sounds. I hate synth actions. Two wheels would suffice, and I think they would add very little to the production cost of such a controller. Would just be nice to have everything in one box.

#2465237 - 09/30/15 08:26 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Thank you ando, I appreciate your feedback.

However, I believe there is still an opinion that the VPC1 is primarily intended for virtual piano software, which does not require pitchbend/modulation input. If the customer wishes to use the VPC1 for playing strings, brass, guitar, synth, and other libraries, that's obviously fine, however perhaps a semi-weighted or unweighted controller (with pitchbend/modulation) is more suitable.

Please note that I don't necessarily buy into this argument 100% - I can see reasons for and against, which is why this is a tricky topic. Yet at the same time, we also cannot ignore the large pool of VPC1 customers who have written to us to express their gratitude for producing a dedicated piano-focused controller...and omitting pitchbend/modulation controls.

Cheers,
James
x


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#2465263 - 09/30/15 11:05 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Thank you ando, I appreciate your feedback.

However, I believe there is still an opinion that the VPC1 is primarily intended for virtual piano software, which does not require pitchbend/modulation input. If the customer wishes to use the VPC1 for playing strings, brass, guitar, synth, and other libraries, that's obviously fine, however perhaps a semi-weighted or unweighted controller (with pitchbend/modulation) is more suitable.

Please note that I don't necessarily buy into this argument 100% - I can see reasons for and against, which is why this is a tricky topic. Yet at the same time, we also cannot ignore the large pool of VPC1 customers who have written to us to express their gratitude for producing a dedicated piano-focused controller...and omitting pitchbend/modulation controls.

Cheers,
James
x


Yes, there is that opinion, James, but there is also a rival one which supports the extra wheels. I've seen it expressed enough to believe that it's worth considering by Kawai for their next controller. I seriously doubt many people have expressly written to say how delighted they are that these controls are absent - I think they would more likely be focussed on how much they enjoy its piano specific features - as well they might.

Anyway, just my thoughts. I know my lone opinion is unlikely to induce a design change in Kawai products but I thought I'd speak up because there are people out there who feel this way and it's important that they represent themselves because it will ultimately shape how Kawai proceeds with future products.

#2465266 - 09/30/15 11:21 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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You have to consider how it would affect the branding of it. Most digital piano's could easily be made with a pitch wheel and a thousand extra sounds and effects at a cost of a few dollars, but they purposely strip all the features out to market it to the purists/piano replacement crowd. The VPC1 is pretty much the definition of this, they tried to make something that looked like an exact copy of a real piano within its form factor.

I just can't see it happening from a product design perspective.

#2465268 - 09/30/15 11:41 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Is it difficult to add a modulation wheel that's part of another effects board (or keyboard midi controller) and use that to get the desired effect with the VPC1 on the VST side?

#2465270 - 09/30/15 11:52 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Hey you guys, thanks for adding to this topic in such a positive way.

Kawai James, glad to hear from you!
I was hoping you would pick up on this topic.
Really appreciate your input here.

Ando, I am with you what you wrote about your preference "to play weighted keyboards for all sounds".
Same here.

Now, I have to admit, I myself am doubtful about the possible adding of a pitch/mod wheel to the product.
Part of me wants it there, another part likes it as simple and focussed as possible.
It could interfere with that serene quality the VPC1 now has.
So I'm on both sides of the fence.
Again, Kawai James, thanks for listening and hearing my/our story on this forum.

So, here's my argument for having the mod/pitch controllers.
As a composer of film music, the piano obviously is my go-to instrument.
My main library of symphonic samples uses this feature where the mod wheel plays the lead part in.
This feature is called "velocity switching".
The velocity of anything can be controlled by the mod wheel *whilst* it's playing.
It allows you to make realistic crescendo's and diminuendo's of, for example, a sustained string chord.
And it does this without the need to fake these dynamic changes using volume curves, always yielding a cold/uninteresting result.
So in short, true drama and emotion can be added with velocity switching by using the mod wheel.
Very nice feature indeed, I use it all the time.

Another reason is that in most soft synths (that I use), the mod wheel is controlling the HPF or LPF.
Again very useful, instead of just drawing the curve by mouse, a tactile controller can achieve this in a more organic way.

That's it, those are the main reasons.

(Oh and the pitch wheel, I rarely use it when I'm playing the weighted keys.. But I guess these wheels come in pairs..)

I have to add; this would NOT be a game-changer or -breaker for me.
It's 99% about the piano action for me.
To have those features incorporated in the keyboard however, well I wouldn't say no or disagree.

Cheers!

Last edited by DeskDesign; 09/30/15 11:55 PM.
#2465271 - 09/30/15 11:53 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: ando]  
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Originally Posted by ando
Yes, there is that opinion, James, but there is also a rival one which supports the extra wheels.


Yes, you're absolutely right. Indeed, the VPC1 has received a fair amount of negative feedback on other - less piano oriented - forums from players who are adamant that omitting the pitchbend/modulation wheels was a grave error.

Originally Posted by ando
I seriously doubt many people have expressly written to say how delighted they are that these controls are absent - I think they would more likely be focussed on how much they enjoy its piano specific features - as well they might.


Well, we certainly have received a considerable amount of 'Thank you for making the VPC' feedback from satisfied customers, which often mention "I particularly like that there are no knobs, buttons, or wheels..." or "I love the clean design" etc.

Originally Posted by ando
Anyway, just my thoughts. I know my lone opinion is unlikely to induce a design change in Kawai products but I thought I'd speak up because there are people out there who feel this way and it's important that they represent themselves because it will ultimately shape how Kawai proceeds with future products.


I am grateful for the feedback and suggestions. We undoubtedly pay close attention to customer requests, while participating on forums such as PianoWorld allows me to appreciate the wide range of opinions out there, and pass them onto R&D when planning new models.

Cheers,
James
x


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#2465277 - 10/01/15 12:20 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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I've never done this before, but can you get a dedicated controller with just a wheel (or two) and put it on top of your VPC1? Plug it into another MIDI or USB port?


Rodney Sauer
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#2465283 - 10/01/15 01:13 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: ColoRodney]  
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Originally Posted by ColoRodney
I've never done this before, but can you get a dedicated controller with just a wheel (or two) and put it on top of your VPC1? Plug it into another MIDI or USB port?


Yes, absolutely. The VPC1 can function as a psuedo MIDI hub, allowing a micro controller with a MIDI OUT jack to be plugged in and merged with that of the VPC's MIDI events.

Cheers,
James
x


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#2465291 - 10/01/15 02:31 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James


Well, we certainly have received a considerable amount of 'Thank you for making the VPC' feedback from satisfied customers, which often mention "I particularly like that there are no knobs, buttons, or wheels..." or "I love the clean design" etc.


Yes, I can certainly see why buttons and knobs could ruin the vibe of the VPC1. I think a couple of elegant wheels might be ok though. Still minimal and tasteful, but very useful to some people. But I guess people can buy an addon controller if they need that stuff. I might be in the minority in the sense that I don't need any more than the keyboard action plus some wheels.

Maybe I'd be better off shelling out more for the MP11 though. Shame to miss out on the touch curves though.

#2465386 - 10/01/15 11:16 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Well, I'm glad my VPC1 doesn't have any added controllers, and no matter what Kawai does now, they can't download an update that makes me have one (unlike Microsoft).
.
But I wouldn't buy a VPC2 if it did have added controllers.
.
How about this for a compromise? Make the added wheels an option, in a box that would screw onto/plug into the side or top of the VPC2, adding the functionality, along with the associated extra width or height.


Jack
#2465388 - 10/01/15 11:28 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: joflah]  
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Originally Posted by joflah

I wouldn't buy a VPC2 if it did have added controllers.


Imagine it has the GF2 action + 2 neat wheels on an otherwise uncluttered board? Sure you would!

Quote
How about this for a compromise? Make the added wheels an option, in a box that would screw onto/plug into the side or top of the VPC2, adding the functionality, along with the associated extra width or height.

That's a good idea!

#2465395 - 10/01/15 11:54 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: joflah]  
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Originally Posted by joflah
Well, I'm glad my VPC1 doesn't have any added controllers, and no matter what Kawai does now, they can't download an update that makes me have one (unlike Microsoft).
.
But I wouldn't buy a VPC2 if it did have added controllers.
.
How about this for a compromise? Make the added wheels an option, in a box that would screw onto/plug into the side or top of the VPC2, adding the functionality, along with the associated extra width or height.

An excellent idea - I was going to suggest it myself...honest.

- although I was going to say, I'd prefer not to see extra width.

#2465409 - 10/01/15 01:08 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Perhaps some crazy ideas laugh


If not put at the side for extra width put it on top left like the MP7. While I have no experience of such a implementation I have seen flat pads and like the idea, like a mouse pad on a laptop. Instead of having two wheels you would have a flat 2D surface you can easily move your finger tips on.

X direction would be modulation and Y direction pitch say, or vice versa, or any effects one may wish to map to those 2 degrees of freedom, that way you can also move in diagonal directions which would give easier control of linear combinations of the two effects at your finger tips.

A flat surface would also be easy to cover up with a little sliding cover, or a lid that could be put on optionally, so it is easily removed from view for those that don't like to see it.

I am probably nuts crazy


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#2465410 - 10/01/15 01:10 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Add me to those that wouldn't like to see wheels etc. in a VPC2. That should be at best optional IMO.


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#2465692 - 10/02/15 01:28 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Just returned from having a second try at the piano shop.
I tested the Kawai RM3 II as before, and the Grand Feel I and II.
This time around, surprisingly, I preferred the RM3 II.
Funny how these things go.
(There also was a Yamaha Avantgrand N1, now thát action is "clunky" - and, again, not in a bad way, totally loved it!)
So yeah, the VPC1 is back on the table for me.

Last edited by DeskDesign; 10/02/15 01:52 PM.
#2465717 - 10/02/15 03:57 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Digitalguy]  
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Originally Posted by Digitalguy
Add me to those that wouldn't like to see wheels etc. in a VPC2. That should be at best optional IMO.


I wouldn't be so quick in dismissing a good set of wheels on a VPC2.

Imagine riding into your next gig on a new, shiny, VPC2; that would be very cool! (Alloy wheels optional).

#2483799 - 11/23/15 09:36 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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I personally like the fact that the VPC1 is clean and minimal, and doesn't distract me when playing piano. I've always been annoyed by controllers with displays, buttons, sliders, so much that when composing on my digital piano/master keyboard, I keep a piece of felt on the control panel to cover them.

Apart for hardware controllers, you can add to the VPC1 some of the programmable controllers running on an iPad. I use sometimes Logic Remote, that is a great help when working with Logic. Other controller apps exist, even if I don't use them. Why limiting your possibilities to just two wheels, when you can easily create any control surface?

Paolo

#2483834 - 11/23/15 11:31 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Originally Posted by DeskDesign
Just returned from having a second try at the piano shop.
I tested the Kawai RM3 II as before, and the Grand Feel I and II.
This time around, surprisingly, I preferred the RM3 II.
Funny how these things go.
(There also was a Yamaha Avantgrand N1, now thát action is "clunky" - and, again, not in a bad way, totally loved it!)
So yeah, the VPC1 is back on the table for me.


They're both great. I kind of prefer a heavier action, so the VPC1 was great. and the heaviness is really only felt when playing more toward the top of the keys.

For those that want the VPC1 to be more of a MIDI controller with wheels, well, there's the MP11 for that.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2483841 - 11/24/15 12:36 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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Very little to complain about with my MP11. I do love it. I kind of wish it had all the sounds features of the MP7, as it is a little sparse. As a master controller, it works very well, though since I do a lot of non-piano scoring, I use a non-weighted 88 key controller on my desk with full sliders and transport control.


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#2484166 - 11/24/15 07:11 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
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VPC2, no bells and whistles but clean and minimalistic like VPC1 for those of us playing only piano, with the best action possible, and with an optional stand with integrated pedals (stable and same style as the digital pianos) and it will be my purchase next time smile

Edit: And a sheet music stand should be an original accessory or included!

Last edited by Snapsh00t3r; 11/24/15 07:17 PM.

Everlasting beginner and piano lover. Own a mistreated 100-year old, a Kawai CN25, Ivory II American Concert D and Akoustik Piano.
#2506990 - 02/03/16 09:25 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 20
labjr Offline
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labjr  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 20
MA
Any word on a VPC2 yet?

#2507000 - 02/03/16 10:07 PM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 13,178
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Kawai James  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 13,178
Hamamatsu, Japan
There are no plans to introduce a successor to the VPC1 at this time.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#2507084 - 02/04/16 07:32 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 745
Pete14 Offline
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Pete14  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 745
Are there any plans to introduce a successor to the VPC1 at this time?

#2507090 - 02/04/16 08:23 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 420
joflah Offline
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joflah  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 420
St. Louis, MO, USA
Ok, how about now? smile


Jack
#2507105 - 02/04/16 09:19 AM Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign]  
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 30
MartasK Offline
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MartasK  Offline
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Czech Republic
thumb
Try tomorrow again, we live in turbulent age smile

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