My first impressions of my new ES110 which I received about two weeks ago are very favorable. I donâ€™t like everything about it, but itâ€™s definitely a keeper.
The ES110 punched all the right buttons for me. I have a Yamaha P35, which is the last of the lightweight (25-26 pounds) Yamaha digital pianos with standard midi, and midi was a requirement for interfacing with my Nord Electro 5. I also wanted a good feeling, lighter action, and a better sound than the Yamaha.
The action is good, but Iâ€™m not in love with it, although it may just be that I need to get adjusted to playing it. I prefer the feel of the Yamaha GHS action on the newer crop of Yamahaâ€™s (P45, P105, P115). In my opinion the GHS is quieter and tighter. However, itâ€™s less expressive than the ES110 action. Itâ€™s easier to go from pianissimo to forte on the Kawai. So itâ€™s a tradeoff. The ES seems to be a different type of action, and perhaps itâ€™s more pianistic. When you release a key, thereâ€™s significantly more key bounce on the ES than on either my P35 or on my CP4.
One thing I don't care for with the ES110 action is that, in my opinion, thereâ€™s too much free side to side motion of the sharp/flat keys, and itâ€™s an inconsistent amount from key to key. Thereâ€™s an occasional clicking sound while playing, and I believe thatâ€™s from brushing against the sides of some of the black keys while playing rapidly. Playing the black keys themselves seems fine. This was not a deal breaker for me.
The sound exceeded my expectations. This piano sounds very natural to me, and specifically, the damper resonance seems just right, not overdone, underdone, or synthetic, like many other digital pianos. Itâ€™s really enjoyable playing solo piano on the ES110.
Comparing the basic ES110 Concert Grand sound to the primary three piano sounds of my much more expensive Yamaha CP4, I thought that the Yamaha had more bite/attack to it, and perhaps more presence in some sections of the keyboard, and I can see where it would be very effective in a band setting. I suspect that the ES110 could sound good in a band situation also. For instance, the Concert Grand 2 sound with the lighter velocity curve seems like it would cut through nicely in a band situation.
For solo piano, I found that I prefer the Kawai because it sounds more natural to me. IMO, the Yamahaâ€™s damper resonance sounds synthetic, and this may very well be due to stretched sampling, whereas the ES110 uses full 88 note sampling. In Yamahaâ€™s defense, they do market the CP4 as a â€˜stage pianoâ€™, and I suspect itâ€™s a very good one. Itâ€™s a different focus. The keyboard action of the CP4 is outstanding, if a little on the heavy side.
I do a few solo piano gigs and play/record at home, so the Kawai meets my needs pretty well.
Last edited by Michael H; 04/05/17 12:37 PM.