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Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? #2496958
01/04/16 01:03 PM
01/04/16 01:03 PM
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rollsomedice Offline OP
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Hey guys, I'd like some advice because I didn't get any in the stores in went to. I'm looking to buy a digital piano as an experienced player who has so far only played on acoustic ones. Hence, key action and sound are most important to me, followed by size - the piano should take as little space as possible, as my living room is very small (about 14 m²).

I played several of the current pianos in the price range around ~2000€ and found that the Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, and Kawai ES-8 were my favourites. However, when I tried to get some advice about which one I should buy shop assistants only told me which ones are better looking and might be a greater sight in a living room. Aside from the fact that I'm looking for a compact piano, not something for my music room or family house (which they seemingly just ignored), I don't want to buy a piano by its looks, but by its specs. So please help me.

From playing, I liked the CA 67 best, but it's also the largest of the three. The sound of the ES-8 seemed inferior due to its speakers, but I'm not sure whether it's such a big difference in my small living room in comparison to the huge music store room. Mostly, I wonder whether it's worth (not money-, but space-wise) to invest in the larger pianos or if I'll be happy with the ES-8. I guess I'll be playing with headphones 70% of the time.

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Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2496966
01/04/16 01:12 PM
01/04/16 01:12 PM
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Czech Republic
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Hookxs Offline
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Ha! My lineup exactly:-) What were your thoughts about HP603, compared with others?

Last edited by Hookxs; 01/04/16 01:13 PM.
Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: Hookxs] #2496988
01/04/16 02:02 PM
01/04/16 02:02 PM
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rollsomedice Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Hookxs
Ha! My lineup exactly:-) What were your thoughts about HP603, compared with others?


Seriously? What are your thoughts?

I really liked the sound modeling of the HP603, but I prefer the key action of Kawai. If I was on a tighter budget, I'd likely decide without second thought in favour of the Roland, because I think it's a really great piano.

Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497009
01/04/16 02:45 PM
01/04/16 02:45 PM
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Germany
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Hendrik42 Offline
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Which country are you in?


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497011
01/04/16 02:52 PM
01/04/16 02:52 PM
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CA67 and ES8 have the same sound engine. If you didn't prefer the CA67 action over the ES8 then the latter seems to be the way to go. IMHO the CA67 action is noticeably better though.

Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: Hendrik42] #2497027
01/04/16 03:37 PM
01/04/16 03:37 PM
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rollsomedice Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
Which country are you in?


Germany. wink

Quote
CA67 and ES8 have the same sound engine. If you didn't prefer the CA67 action over the ES8 then the latter seems to be the way to go. IMHO the CA67 action is noticeably better though.


Of course I prefered the CA 67 action, it's amazing - playing felt *so* easy. But i also thought that the ES-8 still had very good action. It's actually one of the points I'm very unsure of (and you usually don't spend hours in shops playing on each piano), so thanks for your advice. wink

Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497041
01/04/16 04:09 PM
01/04/16 04:09 PM
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Germany
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Both the Roland and the Kawai are great pianos. Choosing between them is only a matter of preference and personal taste, not of objective quality differences. So any advice you get here will not really be very helpful, as it simply reflects the personal taste of the other person. Some may like the sound of one better than the other, or the action of the other better than the first. In the end, you'll have to make up your own mind, so why not go to the shop again and play each option for a longer time? I bought my CA 97 only recently myself and I spent an hour in the shop playing it and a Roland, before I decided. If you are lucky (as I was) then your preferences for action and sound fall on the same model. If not, you'll have to make the difficult decision if you put more importance on the sound or action.

Having said that, I want to give one piece of advice anyway: Don't put too much emphasis on the size difference between ES-8 and CA 67. The 67 is less than 10cm wider than the ES and once you put the ES on a stand it will essentially use up the same space as the 67. So if it's in the budget - and you decide to get a Kawai, not a Roland - go for the CA 67. You will be glad to have the better action and sound (compared to the ES). And also don't underestimate the importance of the non-headphones sound. Once you get an instrument with a good sound, you'll be surprised how much you love to play it without headphones.

Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497286
01/05/16 09:43 AM
01/05/16 09:43 AM
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tabber Offline
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I was just going to say that. Unless you plan on folding up the stand, and packing away the ES-8 and speakers every time after you've finished playing with it, I'm not sure it will be taking up less space. The piano stool will push a fair way underneath the CA67 as well.

That is assuming you don't need the DP to be portable.


Kawai CA97 black

Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497291
01/05/16 10:03 AM
01/05/16 10:03 AM
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Sofia, Bulgaria
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Not sure how relevant my opinion is for this current discussion, however comparing my ex-CA63 which I had for an year and my current ES7, paradoxically I seem to prefer the sound as coming from the speakers of the ES7 compared to those of the CA63. The ES speakers, despite being small and not being situated in a huge resonator, deliver very good bass that is exactly as realistic as I expect it. In contrast, the bass in the CA63 was overly exaggerated and boomy to the point being unrealistic and revealing there's electronic amplification and speakers used. I have tried to correct that with the EQ but never managed. Maybe CA67 is improved in that respect, it two generations newer than CA63, but just have that in mind and test it. Besides, I seem to like the plastic RH2 keyboard more than the wooden RM3. However the newest wooden GF action is much better than RM3, so that's not an issue already. In any case, the plastic RH2 and RH3 are very capable and expressive actions and shouldn't be underestimated on the grounds they are plastic smile

Last edited by CyberGene; 01/05/16 10:03 AM.

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Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497292
01/05/16 10:07 AM
01/05/16 10:07 AM
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Germany
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Hendrik42 Offline
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Germany, ok. So if you consider the Roland HP603 you may want to compare with the Kawai CA17 first. The CA17 has HI-XL sampling and also some (but not all) Shigeru Kawai samples, which are really nice.

It has four speakers which I think make a difference vs the two speakers of the HP603, of course, if you play 70% headphones, that is not so important. It is then important that you get good headphones. There is a massive difference between 40EUR and 100 or 200EUR headphones, I was surprised.

If size (I guess "depth", as "width" is almost the same) is quite important, then you need to look at slab pianos on a good stand. They do not look like much, but they take up little space. Drawback is the speakers, of course, but you can add monitors later.

The ES8 is not in the same league as the CA series (wooden keys), but it has a quite good action (RHIII like my CN35) and it has the HI-XL samples/sound engine. Also, it supports USB sticks, unlike the CA17.

I agree with JoBert, though, that playing without headphones and with teacher or family is fun, so speakers should be considered always.

The new Rolands have really better resonance modeling, though, so this is not a easy decision.

When you play acoustic, do you mostly play uprights ("Klavier") or grands ("Flügel")? All the digital pianos mentioned mimic grand piano actions, so if you are coming from upright pianos it will be easier to play in any case.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: Hendrik42] #2497325
01/05/16 11:50 AM
01/05/16 11:50 AM
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Northern England.
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Another point. Some slab pianos are so narrow, if you have it against the wall. . . the pedals will be horribly forward of ideal. The ES8 with triple pedalboard may be a little forward, they are fixed into the stand; best check.

Last edited by peterws; 01/05/16 11:52 AM.

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Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497407
01/05/16 04:45 PM
01/05/16 04:45 PM
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Hi rollsomedice, we know that you prefer Kawai CA67 key action over Roland HP603, however did you like ES8 key action too... so, please tell us what were your thoughts about HP603 compared against ES8, respect to key action?... Cheers!

Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497564
01/06/16 03:38 AM
01/06/16 03:38 AM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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rollsomedice, I don't have a great deal more to offer beyond the excellent advice provided by others in this thread. However, I would say that all three instruments will serve you well - really, at this price level, it simply comes down to which piano brings you the most playing enjoyment. Best of luck!

Hendrik, good call on the CA17, btw!

Cheers,
James (back from New Year hols)
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
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Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497653
01/06/16 12:07 PM
01/06/16 12:07 PM
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rollsomedice Offline OP
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Thanks for all your great advice. I went to the shop again yesterday to try all of them and decided to buy the ES-8. If I had more space, I would definitely have taken the CA 67, but given that the ES-8 is smaller (if only 10 cm) and is still a decent piano I decided to get it and save some money for good headphones. smile

Sadly, my ES-8 turned out to be damaged when I unpacked it at home, so I have to return it on the weekend and exchange it for a (hopefully) undamaged one. I'm still looking for headphones, any recommendations? I was thinking about the Beyerdynamic 770 or 990 Pro.

Quote
Hi rollsomedice, we know that you prefer Kawai CA67 key action over Roland HP603, however did you like ES8 key action too... so, please tell us what were your thoughts about HP603 compared against ES8, respect to key action?... Cheers!


I could only play the 605, but I *really really* prefered the Kawai key action over it. To me, the key action was way too soft - the longer I played, the more it felt like I was playing on pudding and I felt very uncomfortable playing fast pieces. In comparison, the ES-8 felt more solid and more responsive at the same time. However, I assume this perception is highly subjective, so go try for yourself if you have the opportunity. wink

Quote
When you play acoustic, do you mostly play uprights ("Klavier") or grands ("Flügel")? All the digital pianos mentioned mimic grand piano actions, so if you are coming from upright pianos it will be easier to play in any case.


I've been playing only uprights, so hearing all the great grand sounds in the digital pianos just blew me away. In general, I agree - I already feel very comfortable playing on a digital piano. wink

Quote
Germany, ok. So if you consider the Roland HP603 you may want to compare with the Kawai CA17 first. The CA17 has HI-XL sampling and also some (but not all) Shigeru Kawai samples, which are really nice.


I tried the CA17, of course, but I liked the CA67 *so much* better that I immediately decided to extend my budget. I knew I would have regretted not getting it, if I had taken a cabinet style piano.

Last edited by rollsomedice; 01/06/16 02:37 PM.
Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2497683
01/06/16 01:25 PM
01/06/16 01:25 PM
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Usually I would post congratulations for your new piano, but now I'm not sure if I should extend my condolences about the DOA piano instead? whistle

Anyway, I wish you lots of fun once you get the new one.

Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: rollsomedice] #2503296
01/23/16 08:43 PM
01/23/16 08:43 PM
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Quote
I'm still looking for headphones, any recommendations? I was thinking about the Beyerdynamic 770 or 990 Pro.


Those are both closed back headphones - do you need to block out the sounds around you? Often open backs sound better, and also I like to be able to hear any sounds around me while I'm practising. I have Beyerdynamic DT880 600 Ohm. They are quieter than I'd like plugged straight in to my Roland DP401R, but tonally sound very similar to built in speakers.


Regards,
Steven
---
(Re)beginner
Roland RP401R
Re: Roland HP-603, Kawai CA 67, or Kawai ES-8? [Re: BusyWait] #2503347
01/24/16 01:18 AM
01/24/16 01:18 AM
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770 is closed, but 990 is open back.


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