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Jumping from the Kawai Ship
#2697972 12/18/17 05:08 PM
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Hey folks,

as i said in another thread, i've started to dislike the speaker setup of the Kawai CA98 and i'm considering to switch to another DP. I read much from the Casio GP 500 and was interested to it. I went to the music store here and tested the Casio GP 500, the Kawai CA-98 (i just wanted to know if it's my one or it's a general issue i have), some Yamahas, and Rolands. Here are my quick impressions about the GP 500 so far:

The GP 500 was the main reason why i went to the store. Currently they have it at around 3.499 € instead of 3.999 € so it was even more attractive to check it out.

The Design is really gorgeous. It transports the feel of a modern but classic instrument. Quality is great, just like other competitors on this price level. The keys are highly different from all what i have played. They are slightly heaver than Kawais GFII but a bit more responsive. The repitition on it was awesome as f***. The black keys are coated with phenol and felt very handy. The white keys have a plastic cover. Not that great, but not a big deal. The noise of the key action is subtle. It's not entirely quiet (thanks to mechanical hammers working inside). The pedals were a bit unresponsive but not so much that you could have a problem with.

At this point, i gave it a real chance as a potential replacement. Then i played it and got a very hard hit from the Hammer of Disappointmentâ„¢. The sound sampling is basically not that bad, but nearly everything else is. The dynamic range is extremely thin, so you have to be very careful on the keys to not let the piano start screaming with very loud notes unintentionally. Also the length of the notes are very short. Even with the sustain pedal it fades out after ~5-6 sec on the middle C. The CA-98 holds it for 12 - 15 seconds. The samples itself are okay, but not that complex that it would play in the same league with Kawai or Yamaha. As on headphones or the build in speakers, the sound is very similar. Some ranges on the lower side are a bit muddy. It will getting more on the downside if you close the lid on top of the piano.

The overall impression is a bit mixed. On one hand, it's a well made DP, solid, great keys, good speakers but the sound isn't just that great that you would pay 4.000€ for this. I think it's a good instrument for classical music with a lot of short notes and less sustain pedal usage (turkish march etc.). I play much more modern music like Tiersen, Einaudi etc. where i need a broader range of decay for keeping notes.

So, what are my other options here? I've tried the CLP-685 and the key action is more or less horrible for me. It feels very binary, more than the key action of my old CLP-545. The hardware, sound and all is very good and definitely worth.

I've tested The NU1X, which has a great key action and a good sound. Too bad it's too expensive. I also played the Roland HP-605 and LX17. Interesting key action, like a mix of Kawais GFII and Yamahas new Grand Touch (675 & 685). But the sound was a bit too "digital".

So, after having testing the more or less top models of the brands, i was quite unsure how to deal with one of them. The CA-98 doesn't give me the Sound that i want, the Yamaha doesn't give me the key action that i want, Roland is giving me nothing. laugh

Then i just tried the CLP-645 and it felt surprisingly really good. The key action is totally different from its predecessor 545. It felt way more like the Kawai GFII. Sound production was also quite good (i liked the sound of the 545) and the cabinet has its great look.

Thats it? I'll buy a 3.600€ piano just to came back to a 2.000€ piano and be totally okay with this? Also the other dealer has a CLP-585 for around 3.000€. Interesting because some people say that the key action of the 585 is way better than on 545 and 575.

Now i'm unsure what to do. But it seems i will leave the Kawai Ship back to Yamaha.

Has someone else played the 645? Is it just me or is the key action better than on its previous model?

Tyr


Last edited by Tyr; 12/18/17 05:12 PM.

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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2697977 12/18/17 05:16 PM
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I would suggest you read on NU1X in this forum before thinking seriously about it.

I have played with CLP-635 and CLP-645. CLP-645 is a fine choice - a very good piano at its price point. I prefer Kawai personally but CLP-645 is great as well. I am not a big fan of the action on CLP-685 either smile.

Osho


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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2697982 12/18/17 05:33 PM
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I did play the 645 yesterday, though I don't have any comparison to the 545.

I agree, the action is light and nice, it felt like the Yamaha grand I've played at our recital hall. My decision to go with the 685 is in some part due to this post. My current piano, the Kawai ES110 has a very light, forgiving action. When my son and I go to our lesson, transitioning to our teachers 70's era Steinway M has been really difficult. It's got a very heavy touch and is hard to get it to do anything. In fact, my teacher has another Steinway upstairs out of his studio with a much lighter touch, but he prefers to teach his students on the more difficult piano. He contends that if we learn to play well on his M, we can play any piano well, especially one that's more forgiving. As it turns out, the 685 is the only DP I've tried which was close to his M, and both my son and I agreed it would help us become better pianists by having a heavier action to control (this is pretty much the same argument made by petzzo) so that wound up being the winning argument in our decision.

The 645 on the other hand, was easy to play "nicely" and was very forgiving. I can completely understand your preference.

Just a little aside, my son, who is 10, actually talked me down from the N1. The sale price was fantastic ($6900 USD) and I was actually ready to get it, it was just beautiful to play, really like nothing else in the DP world. But my little guy in his 10 year old wisdom talked about how it was too easy and made us sound too good, we'd learn more with the 685. Well, that plus he really liked the Choir sound on it laugh

Anyway, good luck with your decision. I completely understand your POV on the CA98.

Last edited by squidbot; 12/18/17 05:38 PM.

Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO
Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Chrispy #2697989 12/18/17 05:51 PM
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Thanks so far.

Originally Posted by squidbot
The 645 on the other hand, was easy to play "nicely" and was very forgiving. I can completely understand your preference.


It's not the heavyness which turns me off. It's these uncomfortable binary feel on this key action. It feels somewhat stressing for my fingers. smile

The guy from azpianonews had a good explanation about this feeling:

Quote
Finally, when playing the GrandTouch action, because the keys had (what seemed to be) little padding under the keys, playing those keys was physically a more harsh playing experience and actually started hurting my fingertips after awhile of playing because of the hard vibrations coming through the keys into my fingers.


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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2697992 12/18/17 06:04 PM
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Ah I see, petzzo mentions that as well, but I didn't notice it particularly, though who knows, it may become an irritation as I play on for longer. Fortunately the place I bought from has an excellent return/upgrade policy if it does happen!


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO
Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698006 12/18/17 06:51 PM
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Here's the overall problem, as I see it.

You choose from among the available console pianos that look good.
Then you narrow the field to those with actions that feel good.
And you're left with pianos that don't sound good.
None of them sound good until you move into the costly Avant Grand territory.

So you end up plugging that console into some PC-based VST piano software to get good sound.
You add a decent sound system and you're golden.

But then you realize that you paid a lot for the console, yet you're not using its speakers because they're crappy.
So you should simply have purchased a slab keyboard, choosing one with the best available action.

But a slab won't look good in the living room.
So you build an enclosure that looks like a traditional upright piano (or you re-purpose the shell of an old upright).
[Linked Image]
But that works only if you have the skill and patience to do that kind of work, which I do not.

Why can't Kawai sell a piano like the one in this picture?

It avoids the sprawl of the AG mini-grand form. The pictured unit has a footprint no larger than any off-the-shelf digital console.

Yes, compared to the conventional console this one would suffer the additional cost for all that extra "wood".
It also adds some cost because it has a real speaker system.
And more cost for an internal controller capable of running a VST-worthy tone generator.

I'd suffer the extra cost and buy one ... if only it existed.
But it doesn't. So I can't. frown

Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
MacMacMac #2698007 12/18/17 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac

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(


Are there DIY instructions for doing this somewhere on the web?

Thanks,
Osho


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Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698012 12/18/17 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyr
Hey folks,

as i said in another thread, i've started to dislike the speaker setup of the Kawai CA98 and i'm considering to switch to another DP. I read much from the Casio GP 500....

....I went to the music store here and tested the Casio GP 500, the Kawai CA-98 (i just wanted to know if it's my one or it's a general issue i have)...


Did you come to any conclusions about the store's CA-98? You don't address that point in your post.

I have tried the GP500 and I thought it was okay in certain respects. But the cabinetry was awful. Cheap, cheap, cheap. The build feels like a flimsy, creaky version of Ikea flatpack. The 'Casio' name is a tacky gold transfer and there's the nasty badge proclaiming the link with Bechstein. The whole thing is in quite poor taste when compared with the others you mention so I'm surprised you felt it was equivalent to them.

I think the CLP645 is significant step down in every respect from the CA-98.

Have you experimented with the placement of your CA98? It can make a massive difference to the way they sound through its speakers.


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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698014 12/18/17 07:55 PM
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Hello Tyr, thank you for your post.

Originally Posted by Tyr
Now i'm unsure what to do.


i would recommend buying the piano that brings you the most enjoyment.

Best of luck!

Kind regards,
James
x


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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698016 12/18/17 08:07 PM
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Osho:

This post on pinterest seems to be the source of the picture.

https://www.pinterest.com/imcagle/diy-piano-stand/

Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Chrispy #2698028 12/18/17 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by squidbot
Just a little aside, my son, who is 10, actually talked me down from the N1. The sale price was fantastic ($6900 USD) and I was actually ready to get it, it was just beautiful to play, really like nothing else in the DP world. But my little guy in his 10 year old wisdom talked about how it was too easy and made us sound too good, we'd learn more with the 685.


In other words, the Yamaha is like playing a real piano. If you have a quality instrument, playing--at least within your capabilities thus far--should not be a struggle, it should be a joy. And good pianos make further progress easier than bad pianos do... that should not be a knock on good pianos!

Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698035 12/18/17 09:34 PM
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I am not known for my diplomacy so I don't have much to lose by pointing out that the problem is in your head rather than anything about the pianos you're trying. The grass will always be greener elsewhere. Keep the CA98 and find something to distract yourself (e.g. playing the thing), or spend the money on psychological therapy. It is what it is, that is, a great instrument. If you think it sounds bad, you're basically just wrong and need to reassess what you think is good and what's bad. Stop fighting the world and be readier to accept things for what they are.


Kawai CA95 / Steinberg UR22 / Sony MDR-7506 / Pianoteq Stage + Grotrian, Bluethner / Galaxy Vintage D / CFX Lite
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810
Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Chrispy #2698040 12/18/17 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by squidbot

Just a little aside, my son, who is 10, actually talked me down from the N1. The sale price was fantastic ($6900 USD) and I was actually ready to get it, it was just beautiful to play, really like nothing else in the DP world. But my little guy in his 10 year old wisdom talked about how it was too easy and made us sound too good, we'd learn more with the 685. Well, that plus he really liked the Choir sound on it laugh


It's nice that your son wants to save money, but unfortunately that's not how it works. When you practice on a digital piano your ability to play a real piano is affected, unless you are practicing on an N1 or similar. Yes it's harder to switch, but it's not a good thing as your fingers become familiar with a key geometry that is very very different from any real piano. Of course if you plan on mostly playing stage pianos that's fine.

As for the Yamaha GT and AG pianos not having much padding, they are exactly like real pianos in that regard. You get a very positive stiff stop to the bottom of the key. This is critical to proprioception of the finger's position which allows you to move the hand towards the next note accurately. The Casio has a very squishy stop to the key, which makes it hard to play. I think in this case the difficulty might actually be helpful for developing skill. The bad part is your playing will not be at its best on the piano, so it's best as a supplemental instrument. On the Avantgrands you can play at your best because it is easier.

My assessment of the current options with better actions/keys:
Avantgrand and upcoming Novus NV1 - extremely expensive, onboard sound is not great considering how much money they put into it

Kawai CA78/98 and similar equipped with "Grand Feel" or "Grand Feel II", and MP11 - keys feel great with correct pivot lengths, action feels very unnatural, but the sensors let you play fast stuff without a problem if you get used to it. Also rather expensive. Onboard sound on the CA98 was not bad, but I would rather listen to Pianoteq. The CA78 unfortunately is a big step down in sound quality.

Casio GP - squishy key bottom, awkward repetition, key pivot lengths not as long as the Kawai, onboard sound is really bad. The good part is that you can get something with a full cabinet for under 3k if you get the best price, and the weight of the key feels natural thanks to the extra pivot in the geometry, but repeated notes are very hard to play and the squishy bottom makes arpeggios a challenge.

Last edited by trigalg693; 12/18/17 10:04 PM.
Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698046 12/18/17 10:07 PM
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Okay...😊 lolatu was a bit too direct... but in essence he is not so far from the truth. I myself -and a lot of us here I am sure- am quite familiar with the thougt "what if other gadget / instrument / computer / whatever is better than the one I have just got?....". This is a very real trap. And the shops, with their 30 days money back policy, give a little push to all this...
Back in the time of our parents you would go to a shop, try the thing, buy it and take it home. No return policy whatsoever, unless, of course, there was a real malfunction.
The modern "buy-trade for better-return or sell-buy again" cycle only contributes for us buyers to become extremelly anxious and greedy for the "next-best-gear", making us addicted on shopping. There's no other way of putting things more clear. So what should we do? Well... Get the best our money can afforf -once- like our parents did, NOT sell or return, and USE the thing we've just bought. Also forget about nit-picking and searching for small tiny defects in everything. That is my point of view. Someone will agree, others wont. But here it is😊


Eduardo
Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
anotherscott #2698078 12/19/17 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by squidbot
Just a little aside, my son, who is 10, actually talked me down from the N1. The sale price was fantastic ($6900 USD) and I was actually ready to get it, it was just beautiful to play, really like nothing else in the DP world. But my little guy in his 10 year old wisdom talked about how it was too easy and made us sound too good, we'd learn more with the 685.


In other words, the Yamaha is like playing a real piano. If you have a quality instrument, playing--at least within your capabilities thus far--should not be a struggle, it should be a joy. And good pianos make further progress easier than bad pianos do... that should not be a knock on good pianos!


I'm definitely not knocking good pianos, but when I find multiple good pianos I struggle to play well due to heavier action (such as the mentioned Steinway or more recently a Kawai GL in my piano group) it does seem I have something to learn. And as to others, I don't really plan on trading it in, I want to learn to tame it. Anyway, I don't want to hijack the thread, perhaps this is a better discussion on the "thoughts about practicing classical music on digital pianos" as I don't want to start another holy war here smile

Last edited by squidbot; 12/19/17 02:18 AM.

Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO
Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698088 12/19/17 03:27 AM
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I think we should educate music teachers on the errors of playing/teaching on unsuitable acoustic pianos . . . .and you lot ought to realise something's very wrong here.

Last edited by peterws; 12/19/17 03:28 AM.

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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698110 12/19/17 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyr

Has someone else played the 645? Is it just me or is the key action better than on its previous model?

Tyr

I have the 645 and I love it. I bought it after extensive research and many hours of playtesting all the big brands. I am still very happy with my choice and the Yamaha continues to isnpire me every day.

On the other hand I tend to agree with the others that said you are perhaps focusing too much on gear and not enough on playing. I understand that you want to be completely satisfied after spending quite a bit of money on the Kawai. However looking at your signature you seem to be jumping from DP to DP quite a lot. I haven't played the CA98 but I doubt it is worse than the 645. Also, if you were unhappy with the 545, then will the 645 keep you happy for a long time? Yes it is better but not by much I don't think. Good luck in any case! Enjoy playing! smile


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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Vadesriux #2698118 12/19/17 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Vadesriux
Okay...😊 lolatu was a bit too direct... but in essence he is not so far from the truth. I myself -and a lot of us here I am sure- am quite familiar with the thougt "what if other gadget / instrument / computer / whatever is better than the one I have just got?....". This is a very real trap. And the shops, with their 30 days money back policy, give a little push to all this...
Back in the time of our parents you would go to a shop, try the thing, buy it and take it home. No return policy whatsoever, unless, of course, there was a real malfunction.
The modern "buy-trade for better-return or sell-buy again" cycle only contributes for us buyers to become extremelly anxious and greedy for the "next-best-gear", making us addicted on shopping. There's no other way of putting things more clear. So what should we do? Well... Get the best our money can afforf -once- like our parents did, NOT sell or return, and USE the thing we've just bought. Also forget about nit-picking and searching for small tiny defects in everything. That is my point of view. Someone will agree, others wont. But here it is😊

Wise words, I could not agree more.

Esp in the digital area (same goes for computer components, really) that develops fast I would recommend stopping to read tech forums and stopping the comparison process once you make a purchase. You did your research (hopefully), you tested, you came up with the best possible fit (no, that does not mean all wishes are satisfied, it's very rare that any product will do this), now it is time to let go and enjoy what you have.


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Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Chrispy #2698133 12/19/17 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by squidbot
when I find multiple good pianos I struggle to play well due to heavier action (such as the mentioned Steinway or more recently a Kawai GL in my piano group)

I would not equate "good piano" with "heavier action." Acoustic piano actions vary tremendously (and not everyone will even agree about which ones feel better than which). I have played heavy feeling Steinways and light ones. The Kawai and Baldwin I have played have felt heavy. The Bluthner and Yamahas have felt light. Personally, I prefer the lighter feeling ones. But I would pick one based on what felt nicest to play, rather than one than would make me struggle.

Re: Jumping from the Kawai Ship
Tyr #2698163 12/19/17 11:01 AM
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I always prefer acoustic grands with light action. The thing is, you can't just create an acoustic piano with unrealistically light action, right laugh Because it's the real thing and it dictates the limits to which anything there can be "configured". Action too light and it might not play loud enough to say the least. So, it's a coherent and a holistic instrument by itself.

Not so much with a digital piano. You can sample some random acoustic grand, one long and heavy long beast with heavy action, then just pour the sample sets in a sampler, assign some velocity mappings, then use this hooked up to a very light action with some touch curve that doesn't make any sense at all, package all that under a "digital keyboard" label or even daringly "digital piano" and call it a day smile Then people would say: this feels like cr*p, because it feels unrealistically light compared to the Steinway of my teacher, hence I like heavy actions - like real pianos.

And that's how we have myths created smile

Again, that's an exaggeration to show my point.

Last edited by CyberGene; 12/19/17 11:03 AM.

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