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Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 #2642421
05/11/17 11:52 AM
05/11/17 11:52 AM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 3
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GuitarGeorge Offline OP
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GuitarGeorge  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2017
Posts: 3
Hi

This is my first post in this forum, so let me first introduce myself. I played the electric organ as a child for about 3 years and switched later to the guitar.
It's been a long time since I wanted to learn the piano and the harpsichord, but until recently good digital pianos were too expensive for me (the digital harpsichord C-30 by Roland still is).

I've been researching for quite some time and narrowed my choices down to the two models mentioned in the subject. I've had the chance to try out the Kawai CN37 and the ES8, but the ES8 did not sound as good as the CN37 to my ears, which was probably due to the latter having two additional bigger speakers and a bigger resonating body.
Today, I discovered the Yamaha CLP-625, which in white costs only about 10% more than the CN37. The two seem to be more or less equal in specs, so I have three questions:
1. Is it true that Yamaha usually does a better job at capturing harpsichord sounds and church organ sounds?
2. How does Kawai's RH3 action compare to Yamaha's GH3X action?
3. Which of the two has the better sampling technology?

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by GuitarGeorge; 05/11/17 12:35 PM.
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Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642489
05/12/17 01:00 AM
05/12/17 01:00 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,491
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Online content
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Kawai James  Online Content
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Hello GuitarGeorge, welcome to the forum.

The thread topic refers to the CLP-635, but then the CLP-625 later in the post.
Am I correct in thinking that you are indeed considering the CLP-635?

Please note that I've yet to play the latest Clavinova models, however I believe the new generation offers some nice upgrades over the previous CLP-500 series.

The CLP-635 competes directly with the CN37 on features and price. They are both excellent digital pianos, with realistic keyboard actions, a nice selection of piano sounds, and lots of useful features. In response to your queries:

Originally Posted by GuitarGeorge
1. Is it true that Yamaha usually does a better job at capturing harpsichord sounds and church organ sounds?


I wouldn't necessarily say so, however I did recently hear a customer mention that he preferred the Yamaha harpsichord sound to that of the Kawai. I believe Kawai's church organ sounds are quite strong, although the emphasis for any digital piano will always be the quality and realism of the core acoustic piano sounds.

Originally Posted by GuitarGeorge
2. How does Kawai's RH3 action compare to Yamaha's GH3X action?


They are very similar. Both feature grade-weighted hammers, simulated ivory key surfaces, 3-sensor detection, and let-off/escapement simulation. The Kawai action arguably has the edge due to the added counterweights embedded within all black and white keys - a feature reserved for the top-of-the-range CLP-685.

Originally Posted by GuitarGeorge
3. Which of the two has the better sampling technology?


Again, both are very similar. Kawai utilises 88-key sampling and offers two core concert grand piano sounds (with variations): the Kawai EX and Shigeru Kawai SK-EX, in addition to a K-60 upright. I believe Yamaha now also utilises 88-key sampling (although I cannot find a reference to this on their website), and offers two core concert grand piano sounds in the Yamaha CFX and Bosendorfer Imperial. Both digital pianos incorporate various resonances and noises to enhance the realism of the sound, although I believe the CN37 offers greater flexibility over adjusting the sound using its Virtual Technician feature.

In terms of other features, the CN37 incorporates Bluetooth MIDI built-in, however similar functionality can be added to the CLP-635 using a plug-in Bluetooth MIDI adaptor. Perhaps one important feature to note (as you mentioned in your post), is that the CN37 features a four speaker system (two facing downward, two facing upward), while the CLP-635 uses a two speaker system (facing downward).

Once again, I have yet to play the new CLP-600 series in person, so am reluctant to make any recommendations. My advice would be to visit a dealer and spend time playing the latest models, ideally comparing with the Kawai.

I hope this helps - best of luck with your search!

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 CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642505
05/12/17 03:19 AM
05/12/17 03:19 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 41
Lyon, France
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Grigou Offline
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Lyon, France
Don't forget the 16 tracks sequencer on the CN37 James wink

Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642670
05/12/17 12:00 PM
05/12/17 12:00 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 3
G
GuitarGeorge Offline OP
Junior Member
GuitarGeorge  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2017
Posts: 3
Hi James

Thanks for the welcome and for your detailed answer. I am indeed considering the 635 and not the 625. Next Saturday, I'll be able to compare the CN37 and the CLP-635.

I might give the ES8 a second chance, but this time with additional speakers. Can you recommend me a speaker/set of speakers that are affordable (about 100€) and will give the ES8 a more complete sound?

@Grigou: The CPL-635 also has a 16 tracks recorder. Perhaps you compared the CN37 to the CLP-625 due to my typo.

Some other the features I've just noticed that the CLP-635 lacks and the CN37 has are:
- GM2 compatibility
- Overdubbing of audio recordings
I think I have to reconsider in favor of the CN37 what I said in my first post regarding the similarity in specs. Another big plus is the price of CN37.

Kind regards
George

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Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642678
05/12/17 12:21 PM
05/12/17 12:21 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 255
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GoldmanT Offline
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I test drove the previous versions of these pianos and went with the Kawai - in fact I thought the Yamahas lagged behind Kawai at every price point until the CLP585 (I think, whatever the expensive one was). Just didn't sound or feel as classy. I'm not sure what they've upgraded with this range.

I originally looked at the CN25 but went for the CN35 mainly for the extra speakers which gave it a brighter sound, and thought the USB and sequencer and extra sounds would just be a bonus. I've actually used them almost every day, for recording straight piano to upload to the web, to build up multitrack recordings through the simple overdub function (this is different to the 16 track midi recorder, which takes a little more technical nouse) or just for knocking up a quick backing track to play along to. If you play any jazz/pop etc this stuff is a real boon. 300 different sounds sounds impressive but most of them you'll only use if you play a midi file, although there are some cool ones to have a play around with.

FWIW, I think the ES8 actually has an upgraded sound engine compared to the CN37 (the 'X' version of whatever the CN37 sound engine is) so in theory should sound better over headphones. It's up to your ears to choose though.

edit: Kawai product compare: http://www.kawai-global.com/product_comparison/detail.php?n=2283,1132&ct=36


Last edited by GoldmanT; 05/12/17 12:42 PM.
Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642709
05/12/17 01:38 PM
05/12/17 01:38 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 3
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GuitarGeorge Offline OP
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GuitarGeorge  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2017
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GoldmanT, thanks for sharing your experience and for pointing out that the overdub function is more simple to use for recording quick backing tracks. That's something I definitely intend to do a lot. Yet another point in favor of the CN37.
The ES8 has indeed a better sound engine. Its disadvantage is that it has only two small speakers, so without headphones or external speakers it sounds worse than the CN37. Also, it lacks the overdubbing function. Nevertheless, I will give it a try with headphones and some external speakers.

Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642741
05/12/17 02:49 PM
05/12/17 02:49 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 11
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Vl4rt Offline
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Vl4rt  Offline
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Joined: May 2017
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by GuitarGeorge

2. How does Kawai's RH3 action compare to Yamaha's GH3X action?


If you are mainly interested in the key action you could give a look at the CA17, it is slightly above your budget, it has less functions and sounds but the key action should be much better.

Last edited by Vl4rt; 05/12/17 03:13 PM.
Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GoldmanT] #2642748
05/12/17 03:12 PM
05/12/17 03:12 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 11
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Vl4rt Offline
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Vl4rt  Offline
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Joined: May 2017
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Originally Posted by GoldmanT
I test drove the previous versions of these pianos and went with the Kawai - in fact I thought the Yamahas lagged behind Kawai at every price point until the CLP585 (I think, whatever the expensive one was). Just didn't sound or feel as classy. I'm not sure what they've upgraded with this range.

I originally looked at the CN25 but went for the CN35 mainly for the extra speakers which gave it a brighter sound, and thought the USB and sequencer and extra sounds would just be a bonus. I've actually used them almost every day, for recording straight piano to upload to the web, to build up multitrack recordings through the simple overdub function (this is different to the 16 track midi recorder, which takes a little more technical nouse) or just for knocking up a quick backing track to play along to. If you play any jazz/pop etc this stuff is a real boon. 300 different sounds sounds impressive but most of them you'll only use if you play a midi file, although there are some cool ones to have a play around with.

Hi, I’m also interested in the CN35. In the kawai’s site you could hear just one harpsichord sample but reading the manual i found 4 different type of harpsichord. Could you post some brief passages with every harpsichord? It would be very useful since I’m currently unable to try the CN35. I have noticed that the problematic notes are the high ones (Usually those sound very digital).

Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642780
05/12/17 06:23 PM
05/12/17 06:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 255
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GoldmanT Offline
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Hi, sorry I can't upload anything at the moment but I had a quick play and the two main harpsichords sound different to each other but not better or worse - almost like the same instrument but a different mic placement or EQ. One has a slightly stronger attack and possibly the same one has a little slapback delay on it too. It sounds pretty good to me for the four octaves with middle C in the middle - the octave above that starts to sound thin, and the next octave up starts to have 'processed' digital artifacts in the sound, especially over headphones.

The other two sounds - one is the same sound but doubled to play an octave on a single key. And the other is the same sound but panned across the stereo field to match where you play on the keyboard - e.g. The lowest note is right in the left speaker.

Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2642781
05/12/17 06:26 PM
05/12/17 06:26 PM
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GoldmanT Offline
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Forgot to add, for any harpsichord, turn off the velocity sensitivity, sounds much more realistic.

Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2643309
05/14/17 12:00 PM
05/14/17 12:00 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 908
Germany
H
Hendrik42 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Hendrik42  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 908
Germany
I played the CLP 535 at the time I was comparing against the CN35. I played the CN37 and CLP 636 at Musikmesse. I still like the Bösendorfer sound that Yamaha has included, I still like the Kawai sound more than the Yamaha sound...

And I still think the two extra speakers of the CN35/37 make a real difference. So if you do not play 80% with headphones... (if you do, get really nice headphones, makes such a difference)


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Kawai CN37 vs Yamaha CLP-635 [Re: GuitarGeorge] #2646366
05/23/17 11:53 AM
05/23/17 11:53 AM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 89
Hungary
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alphonsus Offline
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Hungary
Hi GuitarGeorge, not sure whether you made a decision yet, but since I play-tested exactly these two pianos today for about an hour, I thought I'd chip in. Although maybe it's not too helpful since the only thing I can tell you is there is nothing objectively better/worse between these two DPs and it has to come down to your personal preference of sound character and/or action. The predecessor of the CLP-635, the CLP-535, had a vastly inferior speaker setup to the CN37, so I would not have been able to recommend that. But the 635, though it has the same specs, is much better, and sounds almost as good (full & bright) as the CN37 despite having only 2 speakers to the Kawai's 4. The actions are also very similar. I like both, today I felt like I preferred the Yamaha, but it's a small difference and I really like the Kawai also. As for the samples I slightly prefer the Yamaha but this is entirely subjective. It's not a question of technology IMO, but a question of which character you like more. A plus of the Kawai for me is that they have many more variations of the pianos (2x Mellow, 2x Warm, etc.) which is really nice for variety. Can't comment on the hapsichord I'm afraid as it's not an instrument I'm particularly fond of.
Good luck with the decision, let us know what you end up getting!


Adult beginner, playing since October 2016
Yamaha CLP-645 Soundcloud

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