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Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! #2561187
08/05/16 10:16 AM
08/05/16 10:16 AM
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PWistuba Offline OP
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Hi all,

I'm new to the site and I am considering a new DP purchase. I had a fantastic Roland HP model from 2000 and it served me very well for many years (14) but I grew tired of it and sold it and so I am now in the market for a new one.

I am looking for your advice on Kawai digital pianos and their reliability, especially with the Grand Feel II wooden piano action found in the CA97/CS11.

I ask because I have had the opportunity to play the CA97 and I believe it hands down is the best DP vs Roland/Yamaha in the same price bracket. I love the touch and sound of it Vs either competitor but I love the cabinet finish of the CS11 so would be making this as my purchase instrument I it weren't for the following...

I can't find a dealer in Scotland who currently has the CS11 for me to play but I don't think that's a major issue as I know it will feel the same as the CA97 in terms of touch (GFII) and understand the sound would be improved from the soundboard speaker system.

The main problem is that when I have visited Roland and Yamaha dealers to experience the competition and rule them out (there are practically no Kawai dealers in Scotland) they pour complete scorn on Kawai digital pianos. I've been told to expect problems with...

a) wood swelling in the keys, causing sticking (Roland dealer) ... Roland once used wooden keys but abandoned the idea due to too many problems (he couldn't name me a model)
b) poor durability of electronics (Yamaha dealer)
c) the soundboard is just a "gimmick" (both dealers)
d) it's rubbish compared with the LX-17 as this piano is modelled (obv Roland dealer)
e) we don't stock Kawai because the return rate of products for faults is too high (Casio dealer) I was told to check that on the internet but can't find much to back up the claim
f) "why oh why would you want to buy a Kawai DP?!" (Laughed at by a Roland dealer)

I understand that dealers want to push their own agenda but I'm slightly nervous at forking out £3k if any of the above statements ring true. I'm also slightly annoyed at myself for letting these dealers get under my skin but hey I was basically hounded out of their shops when I said I preferred Kawai over their models.

A part of me is also exhausted with reading up on the pros and cons of each instrument. It was amusing in the Roland dealership as I eventually relented that I used to be a Roland fan-boy but just plain don't like the LX-17 compared with the Kawai; the dealer simply said "well I can't argue with you anymore". Which is fine as I wasn't in the market for a fight but just wanted to play and test out some pianos.

The other part of me is saying "just go with your heart and buy the piano you like to play best" and while I've only experienced and absolutely loved the CA97, I'm sure the CS11 will be a delight.

Looking for your helpful and insightful thoughts on this folks.

Thanks in advance.

Paul

Last edited by PWistuba; 08/05/16 10:21 AM. Reason: Title edit
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Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561198
08/05/16 10:41 AM
08/05/16 10:41 AM
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Maartin Offline
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I've had a CA97 for almost a year now and have had 0 problems with it. Sounds more like dishonest dealers who will say anything for a sale.

Last edited by Maartin; 08/05/16 10:42 AM.
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561199
08/05/16 10:44 AM
08/05/16 10:44 AM
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And the soundboard definitely isn't just a gimmick - playing the CA67/CS8 and then the CA97/CS11 will tell you that. It adds a massive richness and body to the sound adds a sense that its coming from all over the instrument rather than from speakers.

Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561201
08/05/16 10:50 AM
08/05/16 10:50 AM
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PWistuba Offline OP
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Thanks, Maartin,

Yeah, I do think they were trying to put me off Kawai just so I would buy from them but one of the dealers effectively said he thought they were rubbish but would get me one in if I wanted to order through him. I could have choked!

I do love the CA97 and understand it has the soundboard shared with the CS11 so completely agree that the tone is fabulous.

It's nice to hear from Kawai owners that they feel they made the right choice. Thanks


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Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561215
08/05/16 11:46 AM
08/05/16 11:46 AM
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alwatson Offline
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I wouldn't pay any notice to what they're saying, it sounds like sour grapes to me.

They wouldn't offer a 5 year guarantee with a product they weren't confident in.

At the end of the day if you prefer the Kawai that's what you should buy.

Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561220
08/05/16 12:00 PM
08/05/16 12:00 PM
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Suffolk, United Kingdom
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EssBrace Offline
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Originally Posted by PWistuba
...part of me is saying "just go with your heart and buy the piano you like to play best"...


You already had the answer!

I'd love to be a Kawai fan, but I can't quite relate to the piano sounds. But everything these grubby little dealers told you is complete nonsense. Go with your heart and buy the Kawai!

Good luck,

Steve


Roland RD-1000 | Nord Piano 3 | Dexibell Vivo P7
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: EssBrace] #2561226
08/05/16 12:26 PM
08/05/16 12:26 PM
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JoBert Offline
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Some more anecdotal feedback: I have my CA97 since last December (so not very long regarding possible long-term problems). So far I am extremely happy with it and had no problems at all.

If you like both touch and sound (which seems to be the case) I can only say: go for it!

Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561277
08/05/16 04:45 PM
08/05/16 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PWistuba
Hi all,

I'm new to the site and I am considering a new DP purchase....... I've been told to expect problems with the following:

.....

d) it's rubbish compared with the LX-17 as this piano is modelled (obv Roland dealer)
e) we don't stock Kawai because the return rate of products for faults is too high (Casio dealer) I was told to check that on the internet but can't find much to back up the claim
f) "why oh why would you want to buy a Kawai DP?!" (Laughed at by a Roland dealer)

....Thanks in advance
Paul


My advice and comments are based primarily upon having read many posts here, in particular three threads - MP7 User , ES7 User and Roland Announces New LX/LH (modeled) models.

d) some people have posted that they tried a modeled model and really liked what they heard and felt. Other people posted that they tried but not impressed with the all-modeled experience...... one thing not new here - from one person to the next, some people prefer make/model A for xyz reasons, other people prefer make/model B for whatever reasons.

e) I too would very much like to know what Kawai or Roland or Casio considers "return rate for product faults too high" for various makes/models. Be that as it may, do the due, read the aforementioned threads and you will see anecdotal evidence that within the initial period after taking receipt Kawai Corp/Customer Support does not hesitate to offer their customers a new replacement unit upon customer reporting their (original) new unit exhibits xyz symptom; whether or not the symptom is a bonafide fault . By comparison from having read threads on Casio user comments, I recall having read relatively few posts in which the subject matter even came up; the level of support a given user received from Casio. The posts may be here and maybe I just have not landed on them or perhaps Casio users rarely have any technical, warranty or other issues to be answered by the manufacturer ...... maybe Casio users seldom need to have a new unit replaced with a new unit due to click, twang, hum , glitch or other fault.

f) Perhaps you want a Kawai, Paul, because you actually sat down and tried them and other makes/models and found that your ears, hands or other senses prefer Kawai .... or maybe you too have fallen prey to the Kawai conspiracy. 😱

Good luck with your eventual purchase.

-drew

Last edited by drewrst; 08/05/16 04:49 PM.

- Kawai MP7 w/ MDR7506 phones and LSR308 monitors
- Roland HP-508
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561309
08/05/16 06:23 PM
08/05/16 06:23 PM
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I am looking at cs11 too. They have same action as ca97. I have tried both ca97, cs11, and the recent rolland lxs. I am looking for good action key board, and kawai is it, rolland lx did nothing for me. I started a thread earlier and you might want to look at some feedbacks where kawai action is better. But it depends on what u r used to and expect. Yes, modelling is the new buzz. I have researched and I would say it is still early adoption, which I don't want to pay for it now with further improvements down the line. I am an adult student learning via classicals so this is where I am coming from.


Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561374
08/06/16 04:04 AM
08/06/16 04:04 AM
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Tuscany Italy
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I myself own a used Kawai ca63 of 2011 with 0 problems. Which doesn't mean a thing but, if Kawai had serious recurring problems, a forum like this would be flooded with recurring posts, which is not the case ( neither is it for other brands ). Go and choose what you like.


Kawai Ca63 - yamaha motif07 - Korg01fd
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561431
08/06/16 11:20 AM
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PWistuba Offline OP
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm glad I found this forum as it has been great to hear from kawai owners and also from owners of other DP's who support the idea of personal choice without rubbishing the brand name of a different make.

I'm going with the CS11

Happy days.

Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561578
08/07/16 08:07 AM
08/07/16 08:07 AM
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I have been to a lot of piano stores in the last year and it is amazing what sales people will say about other brands. Complete and utter bs, some of it. I currently assume that they do not keep up with the competition and market at all, because otherwise I would have to believe that they are happy lying to me.

I have had a Roland dealer try to make comparisons between Roland stage/slab pianos (with their tiny speakers) with an acoustic 130cm concert upright...

I find it amazing, how many of them talk down the other brands instead of talking up their strong points. I currently believe that they in fact do not know what their strong points are. One shop that sold Rolands even had no notion of their now fully modeled sound...

I had an issue with a funny sounds out of the action from my Kawai CN35, something that was fixed on warranty promptly by a technician visiting. This technician is also under contract by other brands (Yamaha, Casio, Roland, Kawai) and he said that from his point of view, none break more often than the other, except Casio having had a bad streak in actions at some point in the past years.

For fun, here would be my answers to the points above:

a) the new Roland models (all of them have the same action!) now have wood in their action.
b) I know as many people with broken electronics in Yamaha as in Kawai: none
c) the Kawai / Onkyo prototype even has two soundboards, its not a gimmick at al.
d) all of the new Roland are fully modeled, he should know that.
e) go through the posts on PW, you will not find evidence for that. All the big brands are considered safe to buy.
f) value for money

If you go high end, you should look at Casio GP, Yamaha CLP, Roland LX and Kawai CA/CS models. You can just go by what you like in feel and hearing -- as when buying an acoustic and that is it.

Good luck!

Last edited by Hendrik42; 08/07/16 08:07 AM.

Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561674
08/07/16 07:49 PM
08/07/16 07:49 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Online content
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Hello Paul, welcome to the forum!

Originally Posted by PWistuba
I have had the opportunity to play the CA97 and I believe it hands down is the best DP vs Roland/Yamaha in the same price bracket. I love the touch and sound of it Vs either competitor but I love the cabinet finish of the CS11 so would be making this as my purchase instrument I it weren't for the following...

I can't find a dealer in Scotland who currently has the CS11 for me to play but I don't think that's a major issue as I know it will feel the same as the CA97 in terms of touch (GFII) and understand the sound would be improved from the soundboard speaker system.


I'm a little late to this thread, but from your most recent post it appears that you have already decided to purchase the CS11. There are a number of Kawai dealers in Scotland, and while I can guarantee that they will have the CS11 available to play-test, it may be worth checking the Kawai UK dealer locator here to see all the stores in your area.

As you note, even if these stores do not have a CS11 on the floor, the keyboard action, sound technology, and speaker system, etc. is the same as the CA97. Given that you already appreciate the CA97, I'm confident you will love the CS11 in ebony polish. wink

The negative comments mentioned by Roland and Yamaha dealers do seem rather harsh. I wonder to what extent their opinion has been formed by direct experience with Kawai instruments, as opposed to simply bad-mouthing a rival brand in order to make the sales?

Regardless, the most important thing is that you have had the opportunity to play-test the latest models from the main manufactures for yourself, and have concluded that Kawai offers the best digital pianos in the price range that you are considering.

If you have any further queries regarding the CS11 or any other Kawai DPs, please feel free to ask on the forum, or send me a PM directly.

All the best!

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: Hendrik42] #2561738
08/08/16 05:45 AM
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PWistuba Offline OP
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Thanks for the reply,

It is quite astonishing how far dealers seem willing to go in order to rubbish another brand for the sake of attempting to score a sale for themselves. Why not honest and open conversation and allowing you to make your own mind up and (if they have any faith in their brand) they should sit back and let the product talk.

P

Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: Kawai James] #2561745
08/08/16 06:50 AM
08/08/16 06:50 AM
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PWistuba Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello Paul, welcome to the forum!

Originally Posted by PWistuba
I have had the opportunity to play the CA97 and I believe it hands down is the best DP vs Roland/Yamaha in the same price bracket. I love the touch and sound of it Vs either competitor but I love the cabinet finish of the CS11 so would be making this as my purchase instrument I it weren't for the following...

I can't find a dealer in Scotland who currently has the CS11 for me to play but I don't think that's a major issue as I know it will feel the same as the CA97 in terms of touch (GFII) and understand the sound would be improved from the soundboard speaker system.


I'm a little late to this thread, but from your most recent post it appears that you have already decided to purchase the CS11. There are a number of Kawai dealers in Scotland, and while I can guarantee that they will have the CS11 available to play-test, it may be worth checking the Kawai UK dealer locator here to see all the stores in your area.

As you note, even if these stores do not have a CS11 on the floor, the keyboard action, sound technology, and speaker system, etc. is the same as the CA97. Given that you already appreciate the CA97, I'm confident you will love the CS11 in ebony polish. wink

The negative comments mentioned by Roland and Yamaha dealers do seem rather harsh. I wonder to what extent their opinion has been formed by direct experience with Kawai instruments, as opposed to simply bad-mouthing a rival brand in order to make the sales?

Regardless, the most important thing is that you have had the opportunity to play-test the latest models from the main manufactures for yourself, and have concluded that Kawai offers the best digital pianos in the price range that you are considering.

If you have any further queries regarding the CS11 or any other Kawai DPs, please feel free to ask on the forum, or send me a PM directly.

All the best!

Kind regards,
James
x


Thanks for your detailed response, James it's very helpful to reinforce my thoughts.

I'll be sure to seek your expert help and guidance if I have any queries or questions Kawai related in the future.

Cheers,

Paul


Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561820
08/08/16 12:43 PM
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Biggars music in sauchiehall street Glasgow is a kawai dealer


Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: Edb123] #2561835
08/08/16 01:33 PM
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PWistuba Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Edb123
Biggars music in sauchiehall street Glasgow is a kawai dealer



Yes, this is where I have experienced the CA97 - no CS11 and no plans to have one in the near future they say.


Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2561979
08/09/16 03:06 AM
08/09/16 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by PWistuba
I ask because I have had the opportunity to play the CA97 and I believe it hands down is the best DP vs Roland/Yamaha in the same price bracket. I love the touch and sound of it Vs either competitor but I love the cabinet finish of the CS11


Exactly my feeling too after trying the CA97. Wanted the polished finish for good looks in my home so I ordered the CS11 without trying. Got it in the end of June. Excellent practice, composing, arranging home instrument. Very very happy with it.

Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2562109
08/09/16 05:41 PM
08/09/16 05:41 PM
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Doug M. Offline
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Originally Posted by PWistuba

I ask because I have had the opportunity to play the CA97 and I believe it hands down is the best DP vs Roland/Yamaha in the same price bracket.
I can't find a dealer in Scotland who currently has the CS11 for me to play but I don't think that's a major issue as I know it will feel the same as the CA97 in terms of touch (GFII) and understand the sound would be improved from the soundboard speaker system.


First, the CA97 is not hands down the best; more relevantly, you like it the best and that's what counts! Best is always subjective, and I want to know: best for what? I tried the CA97, the CLP585 and the LX7. I was underwhelmed by the lot because I compared them to more expensive digitals and to real acoustic pianos (DOH).

Interestingly, I saw a YouTube video comparing the CA97 and the CS11. It is no longer available unfortunately, but there was a noticeable difference in sound between the two models---as you say, due to the physical differences. If you like the CA97, chances are you'll like the CS11 better.

I'm not sure about Kawai reliability being anymore or less that other brands: there have been some people who have had issues with Kawai products and blogged for help, but also (not as often) with other brands. That Kawai's tend to have more issues with reliability on this forum might just be due to the fact that Kawai is quite popular here, so statistically, there is bound to be more reporting of issues, if a larger % of the forum own Kawai's.

However, what I have noticed is how great Kawai customer service is, and so I would't worry too much if something's not right, you'll get the help needed.

If you like the product after trying it, and there is nothing better to your mind at that price point, what does it matter what some dealer said. They are just trying to sell their gear by denigrating Kawai---was never going to work.


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: PWistuba] #2564661
08/20/16 06:46 PM
08/20/16 06:46 PM
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Quote
"why oh why would you want to buy a Kawai DP?!" (Laughed at by a Roland dealer)

That's a weird thing for me to hear. Kawai actions on their digital pianos are pretty widely praised for their great emulation of grand piano action on these forums and elsewhere, which is why I specifically was looking for Kawai DPs and bought my MP-10. Later I bought an MP-11 and I'm quite satisfied with how good they felt to play. I believe the CA97/CS11 is similar or better as the stage piano versions. But it's great that Kawai recognized that there was a market for a keyboard with great action for around $2500. This doesn't seem to be something Yamaha or Roland is pursuing.

Actually, when I bought the MP-11, which was advertised to have some improvements, I wasn't able to feel much difference in action. I thought they had just added some triple-contact sensors or something which wouldn't change the feel by much. But after playing the MP-11 for a year and then returning home where I had my MP-10, the old action felt mushy in comparison -- so it seems like there indeed was a good improvement. Took some getting used to.

Last edited by Allan W.; 08/20/16 07:19 PM.

1980 Yamaha C7 from Rick Jones (http://imgur.com/a/duLJb)
Kawai MP-10
Previously: 2012 Young Chang Y175, which was quite impressive for the price
Re: Kawai CS11 to buy or not to buy... HELP! [Re: Allan W.] #2565010
08/22/16 09:55 AM
08/22/16 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Allan W.
Quote
"why oh why would you want to buy a Kawai DP?!" (Laughed at by a Roland dealer)

But it's great that Kawai recognised that there was a market for a keyboard with great action for around $2500. This doesn't seem to be something Yamaha or Roland is pursuing.


The Roland RD800 with it's PHAIV action was (for it's time) a marked improvement on their PHAIII action in the previous Roland model (RD700NX). In terms of improvement in action-quality, Roland have improved the most over the last 5 years, but they still have allot to make up compared with Kawai. It takes time to close the gap in technology! I would say that by the time Roland's successor to the PHA-50 action is released, Roland will have a stage piano action in this price bracket to compete with the Kawai GFII (but perhaps not with the next gen Kawai action, who knows how much of a leap Kawai will make).

I've played both the MP11 and the RD800, I can say that whilst the PHAIV action is not comparable on weight---slightly too heavy and also the very slight squishy bottoming out [that was much more pronounced on the PHAIII and gone on the PHA-50])---if anything, the dynamic control the Roland offers is slightly better. Indeed, the RD700NX supposedly had 128 (0-127) levels of sensitivity; whereas, the RD 800 is 100 times more sensitive i..e, 128 x 100 times more sensitive = 12,800 levels of sensitivity.

The other point to make is that Kawai concentrate on producing a stage piano for bands (the MP7) and one for the Pianist who loves realistic actions (MP11); whereas, Roland's RD800 went super over-kill on the sounds, having 1113 tones---clearly aiming their second-tier stage piano at gigging musicians.

If you want a great Roland piano emulation, you have to go with the v. expensive V-piano: having another level of quality compared to other stage pianos (due to the connection between their key-bed and their modelling technology being so involving).


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand

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