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Kawai VPC1 or wait? #2718977
03/05/18 01:18 AM
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I was saving my money for a vintage synthesizer, but the market is getting way over inflated so I just decided I'll get the Arturia collection and upgrade my controller.

I'm thinking of getting the Kawai VPC1, but it's getting long in the tooth. I don't want to get it if an updated model is around the corner.
I even got my desk built with enough clearance for the VPC1 haha.

Any news/predictions on a newer model coming around? If not I may be inclined to order one, otherwise I can wait.

Wish we could get an announcement if anything has at least been started, but you never know.


You can never have enough instruments but you can never have enough time.
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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2718983
03/05/18 02:20 AM
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What will you use the VPC1 to control? If the VPC1 is to be used as a controller for synths in the Arturia collection there are better options.

The question of when Kawai will release an upgrade for the VPC1 has been discussed extensively. It remains a mystery. In the meantime other manufacturers have brought to the market keyboards with advanced internal sounds, actions that many people find acceptable and plenty of controller capabilities.

If I was in the market for a controller, I would not consider the VPC1 nor would I wait and wait for an upgrade. IMO, Kawai has allowed the VPC1 to go stale, it seems that particular retail space is not a priority for Kawai.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Rally] #2718985
03/05/18 02:26 AM
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I have a controller for synths already. The VPC1 is mostly for having a better piano keyboard. I work mostly at a PC so portability isn't needed. What controllers would be superior to the VPC1 nowadays?


You can never have enough instruments but you can never have enough time.
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2718986
03/05/18 02:45 AM
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I don't know when (or if) Kawai will bring out a replacement for the VPC ...
Originally Posted by Omalikular
I'm thinking of getting the Kawai VPC1, but it's getting long in the tooth. I don't want to get it if an updated model is around the corner.
... but if I were buying a piano today I'd likely get (or consider) the VPC.

I don't like the internal sounds of any of these digital pianos so I use piano software. That's why the VPC makes sense for me.

I don't especially like the look and finish, but otherwise the VPC would serve my needs.

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2718988
03/05/18 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Omalikular
What controllers would be superior to the VPC1 nowadays?


Indeed, curious minds would like to know. wink


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2718997
03/05/18 04:10 AM
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Honestly, I wouldn't worry so much.
The differences between the Kawai wooden actions are relatively subtle.

GF1 is a little lighter than GF2 & RM3 Grand II (VPC action). I have read positive voices, regarding that and I have read from people that dislike it.
They changed the texture of the black keys, again: some like it, some don't.

Generally, I don't think you will see GF1 or GF2 in a VPC anytime soon, they'll probably want to reserve those for their more expensive top of the line products.

You could see the new GF-C in a VPC 2 at some point but the difference between RM3-GRand II and GF-C would be smaller than the difference between RM3 and GF2.

Bottom line: I don't think there is any technical reason to dismiss the VPC just because it is a few years old. The main driver of new products is usually software based and that doesn't apply to the VPC, because you can update it's software and tone generation independently.

I did extensive research before buying mine and I don't know of any controller that is considered "better".
There is the MP11SE which has Grad Feel 1 but it's 1K more expensive and a fully fledged stage piano.

Last edited by Granyala; 03/05/18 04:12 AM.

The backbone of modern industrial society is, and for the foreseeable future will be, the use of electrical Power.
VPC 1 -> Pianoteq 6 Std / Pearl Alto Flute 201
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Kawai James] #2719020
03/05/18 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by Omalikular
What controllers would be superior to the VPC1 nowadays?


Indeed, curious minds would like to know. wink


For pure piano playing, no controller would be superior to the VPC1!

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2719082
03/05/18 01:27 PM
03/05/18 01:27 PM
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To be fair, he didn't say superior, he simply said better. If we're looking into "vintage synth", as the OP stated, then I could agree that you don't need a real piano action.

As to the point on VPC1 vs VPC2, outside of portability (which it's a non issue in this case), I don't know what you might want from a piano controller that VPC1 does not offer, without going full hybrid.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Pete14] #2719083
03/05/18 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
For pure piano playing, no controller would be superior to the VPC1


Superior to the Kawai VPC1 are...

Kawai MP11SE - longer Grand Feel action, pitch / mod wheels, MIDI assignable controller sliders / knobs, ext footswitches, can transmit program changes and controller data, etc. plus 40 internal sounds & features.

Ravenworks Studio Model I - $5499 custom upgraded VPC1

Ravenworks Studio Model II - $5799 custom upgraded VPC1

Alpha Pianos Tour - 88 key full Renner action with Kluge keysticks (as used for Steinway / Bosendorfer, etc.)

Alpha Pianos Studio - £39,755 - 88 key full Renner action with Kluge keysticks in upright cabinet

Alpha Pianos Grand - 88 key or 97 key full Renner action with Kluge keysticks in baby grand cabinet

Steinway D with Spirio or other MIDI retrofit...

The Kawai VPC1 was designed like a phoenix from the discontinued Kawai MP10 model taking the same metalwork case body and RM3 action, thus without too much re-tooling at the factory they could discontinue the MP10 and start producing the VPC1.
After this happened, later the same year, they launched the new MP11 with different, deeper case style for the longer Grand Feel action. That was the top model for a few years until the recently released MP11SE with the same original Grand Feel action in nearly identical case, except for end cheeks.
Even if they had switched to the slightly newer GF2 action in the MP11SE, (probably saving that for the upcoming MP12), the metal case size still doesn't need to change much, so it's more likely they'll keep on manufacturing that MP11SE case shape for the MP12 with same GF or GF2 size action, rather than abandon the MP11SE size body metalwork in order to totally re-tool production and make something completely different for the flagship MP model - thereby retiring the old MP11 style case from MP series production and thus letting its production line morph into a hypothetical replacement VPC2 model containing Grand Feel action which is what everybody is hoping for.

That may happen one day, but unlikely for several years now because...

1.) Kawai only recently released the MP11SE, so that will likely be around another 3 years before next MP model is due.

2.) There isn't any bigger action in Kawai's portfolio than GF or GF2 (almost identical size) available for flagship MP12 stage piano (except the massive Millenium action in the Novus will obviously never fit into a portable stage piano for the mass market!) so MP12 casework isn't likely to need changing, because the upgrade to GF2 is the next logical step for them, not a jump to something else which doesn't even exist yet.

3.) We're waiting for the MP11SE life-cycle to finish, and then the next MP12 (maybe Jan 2020) is likely to have GF2, and we've got to wait for that to come and go through it's life-cycle (maybe 2023) before there's much chance they'll ditch the current new style MP11SE casework in favour of something else and finally the VPC2 can inherit that and go into production.

3.) They wouldn't make a new VPC2 with same RM3 action as VPC1 because it has no other features to offer than its wooden action - very spartan, minimalist design - so there'd be no real marketable change for any new model with the same RM3 action. What would be different? Only upgrading the action to Grand Feel or GF2 would make any worthwhile difference to the VPC's appeal, if they stick to the same beautiful minimalist aesthetic design philosophy, and I think they will. (Although Kawai could add extra handy features like USB audio interface built in with XLR outs... and call it VPC1X.) The VPC series is a fairly niche product aimed solely at software piano users, so the market isn't as big as for the MP models. Many software piano players still do gigs in the real world and prefer a usable stage piano than a VPC. Few can afford to buy both.

4.) The best chance of a case re-design for the MP12 (with the knock-on effect of giving us a new VPC2) would be if Kawai incorporated the 5 inch colour LCD touchscreen from the Novus (and it's rendering engine technology) into the next MP12 design. However if they did that, they would be undermining potential sales of their £7999 Novus NV10 - which itself only just came out - for the sake of a c£2500 stage piano, so they'll probably wait a few years for NV10 to sell before creating any rival product with same technology for far less money.
Therefore it'll either be ages and ages before the amazing MP12 comes out with colour touchscreen and rendering engine, or an insipid MP12 will come out a few years sooner without any big quantum leaps forward in features - perhaps just a few extra organ sounds, 2 front panel headphone jacks, GF2 action and a couple more assignable sliders, and be another tragic disappointment! - like every other "flagship" MP model since the MP8 and MP8ii.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait?
Bottom line is there almost certainly won't be a physical re-design VPC2 model with GF /GF2 action for at least 2 or 3 years until the MP11SE model is discontinued, and only then, if the replacement MP12 has significantly different hardware case to warrant re-tooling everything for that production, leaving the existing MP11SE metal case moulds available to become adapted into VPC2 production. Maybe that's why Kawai put the nicer VPC style end cheeks on the MP11SE, as it makes that transition easier!

So it's better not to wait for potential new products that MIGHT come out in several years, because if you can afford to have the best products on the market today and enjoy them now, you'll probably make better progress as a pianist in the intervening years of your life than carrying on with something older / plasticky / rubbish you're already finding shortcomings with.

If you're seriously waiting for Kawai to release the ultimate dream MP model with AES/EBU digital out, "Grand Feel 3" (not compact) wood action without the nasty ridged black notes, full 256 preset sound bank restored, at least 256 note polyphony, external USB DAC audio interface built in, ability to load external user multisamples in SFZ format onto a 1TB SSD drive built in, or host VST plugins from an internal operating system that can read Kontakt NKI format under licence in conjunction with Native Instruments, and has a couple of built in XLR mic preamp inputs on the back panel (for singing pianists) with full 32 bit float digital channel strip processing for the vocals built in, including variable HPF, soft knee compressor, 5 band parametric EQ, and parellel path for digital reverb, plus main and subwoofer outputs with crossover facilities onboard, and 97 keys so you can play Bosendorfer soft-synths correctly, and an 11 inch LCD touchscreen top panel at 1920x1080 resolution with external HDMI input...
...if you're waiting for Kawai to release THAT you might be waiting a long, long, long, long time!!!
In fact, even Methuselah would probably lose patience and say "Life's too short."

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2719103
03/05/18 02:42 PM
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What's kept me from purchasing a VPC1 is something some might consider silly: The sloping top.

My MIDI controller (currently Roland A-88) is in a tight space and I can't move it forward to accommodate the extra depth of the VPC1. I use the small flat space on top of the A-88 for LED piano lamps, metronome, trackball, pens, and have a stable surface behind the A-88 for music rack, monitor, PC peripherals. Works great but I don't particularly like the action of the A-88. If Kawai did away with that sloped top, I'd have enough room for everything behind the keys with that wide deck. I've seen pictures where people have put rubber pads on top to try to create a flat surface, but that's not very secure. I'm still scratching my head why Kawai felt this was a good design for what otherwise seems an excellent MIDI controller. I've seen full cabinets for them, but that wouldn't work for me. I only want a flat surface on top, behind the keys.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2719155
03/05/18 04:15 PM
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Some serious insight from this thread. Not long ago I was debating just getting optical MIDI installed on my Rhodes and calling it good to save some space. Don't know if I'd be happy with that though, the Rhodes action is not very piano feeling.


You can never have enough instruments but you can never have enough time.
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2719163
03/05/18 04:34 PM
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Yes, the slope is a problem. But it wouldn't take much ingenuity to devise a solution.

I wish it had one of Kawai's top actions. But even as it is it's better than what I have.

And since my piano no longer lives in the living room, the furniture factor is no longer relevant.

The only remaining item ... it's not very good looking. It would do better with a matte finish. I like a polished finish, but it just doesn't look good on the VPC.

Still, if I were in need of a new piano I'd jump on the VPC for sure.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2719171
03/05/18 05:08 PM
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Since the VPC doesn't have a key cover, mine is hidden away under a towel when I am not playing (I plan on getting some nicer looking cloth in the future).

Maybe you could eliminate the aesthetic factor that way? laugh


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: propianist] #2719174
03/05/18 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by propianist

2.) There isn't any bigger action in Kawai's portfolio than GF or GF2 (almost identical size) available for flagship MP12 stage piano (except the massive Millenium action in the Novus will obviously never fit into a portable stage piano for the mass market!) so MP12 casework isn't likely to need changing, because the upgrade to GF2 is the next logical step for them, not a jump to something else which doesn't even exist yet.


So, Kawai James has stated that in desigining the MP11SE, they determined that the slight differences in the action (the hammer weight positioning and shape) would actually hit the frame, which is why they kept the action the GF1. On opening my MP11, I suspect (and I'm only guessing here as I don't have a GF2 to compare measurements) that the GF2 wouldn't hit the chassis at all, but a few of the hammers might hit the internal power transformer (the Bando unit), requiring that be repositioned. If true, even that could be enough for Kawai to eschew changing the action.

Originally Posted by propianist

3.) They wouldn't make a new VPC2 with same RM3 action as VPC1 because it has no other features to offer than its wooden action - very spartan, minimalist design - so there'd be no real marketable change for any new model with the same RM3 action. What would be different? Only upgrading the action to Grand Feel or GF2 would make any worthwhile difference to the VPC's appeal, if they stick to the same beautiful minimalist aesthetic design philosophy, and I think they will.


The one thing you didn't mention is the Grand Feel Compact action, which retains the same general dimensions of the RM3-II but extends the pivot length. I haven't been able to try it myself, but if there's a noticeable improvement over the RM3-II, then GFC could easily become the action in a VPC-2 without requiring a complete redesign of the case dimensions.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: jfl] #2719175
03/05/18 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jfl
What's kept me from purchasing a VPC1 is something some might consider silly: The sloping top.

.


That's to stop you or anyone else putting beer glasses on it . . . .


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Gombessa] #2719200
03/05/18 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
The one thing you didn't mention is the Grand Feel Compact action, which retains the same general dimensions of the RM3-II but extends the pivot length.

Grand Feel Compact even a bit more compact than the RM3 Grand II. Here is a good hi-res picture of comparison.

It would be great to see ES8's successor (or any other portable [not console] digital piano from Kawai) with this Grand Feel Compact action* and SK-EX Rendering piano sound engine (Pianist Mode), Bluetooth MIDI/Audio connectivity and Spatial Headphone Sound (SHS) technology, double headphone outputs (like in ES8) – things, which are missing in MP7SE/MP11SE. It would be good alternative for me to upgrade from MP7.

* But maybe not possible because of the speakers in portable piano.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: jfl] #2719203
03/05/18 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jfl
What's kept me from purchasing a VPC1 is something some might consider silly: The sloping top.


Me too. In particular I'd like to build a sliding music stand on the top (as I have now) so that I could have my music placed as close as possible. I do a lot of sight reading, and somehow those music stands placed way in the back won't cut it. I know one can get an arm-based music stand to get thing placed closer, but that is cumbersome and jiggly.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: NormB] #2735601
05/10/18 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by NormB
Originally Posted by jfl
What's kept me from purchasing a VPC1 is something some might consider silly: The sloping top.


Me too. In particular I'd like to build a sliding music stand on the top (as I have now) so that I could have my music placed as close as possible. I do a lot of sight reading, and somehow those music stands placed way in the back won't cut it. I know one can get an arm-based music stand to get thing placed closer, but that is cumbersome and jiggly.


NormB- Same here. I need a flat surface on top for a K&M table top music rack and table top LED piano lamp. It'll be wobbly on top of this thing. Some sort of shelf with support legs at the back that rests on top of the VPC1 would do it. Wish I was handy, I'd try building it.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2735606
05/10/18 08:03 PM
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jfl, which stand would you use with the VPC1? I dare say there is a stacker accessory for the K&M 18950 table stand that would facilitate the table top rack that you wish to use.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: peterws] #2735651
05/11/18 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jfl
What's kept me from purchasing a VPC1 is something some might consider silly: The sloping top.
.

I have VPC1 and I can live with it easily. All that counts is on the `sloping` top at the moment, but...
Originally Posted by peterws

That's to stop you or anyone else putting beer glasses on it . . . .

hehe, I agree with Peter smile

Last edited by slobajudge; 05/11/18 02:55 AM.
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2735673
05/11/18 07:49 AM
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Just wondering if VPC-2 is any nearer? That could be my next piano if it came with either GF compact, or RH (suitably silenced). Maybe they could do a production run on both, to see how they go . . .

Last edited by peterws; 05/11/18 10:12 AM.

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2735680
05/11/18 08:00 AM
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We'll find out when it's launched :))
Given the fp90 for only 350e more, I think they should do something by now... But it's probably still selling well as a niche product (there are no other piano controllers with a comparable action) and gliding on its reputation, despite interesting alternatives already on the market.

Edit:
I see the fp90 in white for just 200e more than the Vpc1. That's a very easy choice in my opinion. Or for 3-400e more you can get "a stand and key-cover" included in the for of HP601 or the Ca48 for kawai fans, both with better actions IMHO.

Last edited by mcoll; 05/11/18 08:10 AM.
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Kawai James] #2735692
05/11/18 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
jfl, which stand would you use with the VPC1? I dare say there is a stacker accessory for the K&M 18950 table stand that would facilitate the table top rack that you wish to use.

Kind regards,
James
x


Thanks for the reply James: It's an odd set-up to be sure. I have limited space in my living room and the 'primary keyboard' will be either an NV10 or an N2X (if Yamaha releases it this year and I like it better than the NV10) in the middle of the room. My midi controller is tucked in the corner on a table with other electronics. It actually works quite well that way but can't accommodate a stand. My current midi keyboard (Roland A-88) is the perfect size as the body only extends about 4 inches past the keys, but the action is crap.

Once I get the hybrid, I may find that I can also use that as my midi keyboard (depending on whether the sound is satisfactory feeding a PC audio device back into the hybrid sound system). If so, I'll decommission the A-88, but it would be great to have a decent action in the meantime as I'm having difficulty accurately practicing some of the technical nuances on the A-88. If the VPC1 had a flat top, It would be perfect. I really need that real estate on top.

I also have a Casio Privia (on a K&M stand) in the basement. I suppose if I got the VPC1 and couldn't make it work as the primary keyboard, I might replace the Casio with it, but I'd rather find a solution to the 'flat top' problem. Kawai made an unfortunate design decision here in my opinion.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2735709
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If the "flat top" is really the only hindrance: Buy a shelf board of the right size (and color), put four rubber feet beneath it so that the height of the feet is a tad more than the curvature of the VPC-1 top, put that board on top of the VPC-1. Voila - flat!

(Or maybe two boards left and right of the music rest, or maybe a long board, then with six or eight rubber feet - but then you need to be careful when attaching the feet, or the result will be wobbly.)

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: mcoll] #2735761
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Originally Posted by mcoll

Edit:
I see the fp90 in white for just 200e more than the Vpc1. That's a very easy choice in my opinion. Or for 3-400e more you can get "a stand and key-cover" included in the for of HP601 or the Ca48 for kawai fans, both with better actions IMHO.


A very easy choice? Is PHA50 THAT good? I think not. The new compact Kawai beats it, imo and so does the RHlll found in the CN27 etc. Trouble is, they're not quiet, are they? The PHA4 (Roland RP102) was also very good. Felt lovely but the piano lacked serious dynamics, not surprisingly. (shrug) I really don't know what I'll buy when the time comes. . . . I've got 5 months!
Guess I'll have to return to the planet whence I came and see what they have there . . . .


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: peterws] #2735786
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Originally Posted by peterws
Originally Posted by mcoll

Edit:
I see the fp90 in white for just 200e more than the Vpc1. That's a very easy choice in my opinion. Or for 3-400e more you can get "a stand and key-cover" included in the for of HP601 or the Ca48 for kawai fans, both with better actions IMHO.


A very easy choice? Is PHA50 THAT good? I think not. The new compact Kawai beats it, i

I guess it all depends, how close do you want the action to feel compared to an acoustic, arguably kawai wins, I think it does on the whole, but do you want something that feels fast and agile, possibly PHA50 wins over grand feel IMO.

I don't pay too much attention to how close to acoustic it feels, I ask the question, which do I prefer to express myself. The more acoustics i have tried, as crazy as it may sound, few acoustic actions rival the precision of digital actions, unless they are in tip top shape, but they rarely are in my experience ... thus far, shock horror laugh


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: peterws] #2735797
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Originally Posted by peterws
Originally Posted by mcoll

Edit:
I see the fp90 in white for just 200e more than the Vpc1. That's a very easy choice in my opinion. Or for 3-400e more you can get "a stand and key-cover" included in the for of HP601 or the Ca48 for kawai fans, both with better actions IMHO.


A very easy choice? Is PHA50 THAT good? I think not. The new compact Kawai beats it, imo and so does the RHlll found in the CN27 etc. Trouble is, they're not quiet, are they? The PHA4 (Roland RP102) was also very good. Felt lovely but the piano lacked serious dynamics, not surprisingly. (shrug) I really don't know what I'll buy when the time comes. . . . I've got 5 months!
Guess I'll have to return to the planet whence I came and see what they have there . . . .


Actually it is. IMHO it is definitely better than the VPC1 and even more so than the RH3. I haven't compared to the GF-compact, which I expect to be very good, even if the pivot is still slightly shorter. In its case it would be more a matter of preference.
The pha50 is nimble and crisp and quite acoustic-like, depending on the acoustic. Alexander Borro describes it very well in the post above.
I was in a very big music store 2 years ago and it felt remarkably like some smaller Steinways (I think it resembled a model O the most). Not so similar to the two Boesendorfers and even less so to a couple of Yamahas. There's a large variety among acoustics as well.
It is a very good action and it's at the point where it boils down to preference.

Last edited by mcoll; 05/11/18 11:14 PM. Reason: Several mistakes
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: mcoll] #2735819
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Originally Posted by mcoll


Actually it is. IMHO it is definitely better than the VPC1 and even more so than the RH3. I haven't compared to the GF-compact, which I expect to be very good, even if the pivot is still slightly shorter. I really expect it to be very good to and there it would be more a matter of preference.
The pha50 is nimble and crisp and quite acoustic-like, depending on the acoustic. Alexander Borro describes it very well in the post above.
I was in a very big music store 2 years ago and it felt remarkably like some smaller Steinways (I think it resembled a model O the most). Not so similar to the two Bosendoerfers and even less so to a couple of Yamahas. There's a large variety among acoustics as well.
It is a very good action and it's at the point where it boils down to preference.


Well, I did manage to squeeze in an "imo" somewhere . . . . .


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2735851
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Of course! All of us were going (mostly) on opinion smile
And there are those who share your opinion and those who share mine. In the end everybody will have they're own preference and that's what matters most smile

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2775173
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How often does Kawai release new generations of existing products? In particular, the VPC1 is coming up on its 6th birthday, and with NAMM only 3 months away, what is the likelihood of a VPC2 early next year?

I've been toying with the idea of upgrading my FP-30, to a keyboard with a better piano feel. A midi controller is fine since I don't really care about sound. I can use a VST for that.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2775212
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Despite I think that nothing new will be in NAMM (about Kawai midi controller), maximum we can imagine and expect is VPC1SE with GF compact and some cosmetic changes, maybe flat top but hardly because all others doesn`t have it.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2775244
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I gather that Kawai has no reason to create a new model because:
1. The VPC fits into a very narrow market space.
2. It has no competition.
3. What's wrong with version 1 that would make people clamor for a version 2?
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
How often does Kawai release new generations of existing products? In particular, the VPC1 is coming up on its 6th birthday, and with NAMM only 3 months away, what is the likelihood of a VPC2 early next year?

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2775249
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I gather that Kawai has no reason to create a new model because:
1. The VPC fits into a very narrow market space.
2. It has no competition.
3. What's wrong with version 1 that would make people clamor for a version 2 ?

Correct, I have VPC 4 years and only logical step forward from there will be Novus or Avant grand or Acoustic. There is nothing wrong with version 1, in fact I still think it is among the best key actions in the market and paying 1k more for MP11 is ridiculous for me especially if someone playing at home and don`t need internal sounds. But people are different. Anyway, there is no reason to wait.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: slobajudge] #2775267
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Originally Posted by slobajudge
There is nothing wrong with version 1, in fact I still think it is among the best key actions in the market and paying 1k more for MP11 is ridiculous for me especially if someone playing at home and don`t need internal sounds.

You've exactly touched on why I am waiting, but probably nor beyond NAMM. Because I am really only considering two keyboards: the VPC1 and the MP11. I don't need all the stuff in an MP11. I was hoping that the VPC1's RM3 Grand II would be replaced in a VPC2 with the MP11/CA's Grand Feel action. But that said, I'm not going to pay double the price for that. So if NAMM doesn't see an upgrade to the VPC, I may just bite the bullet and get a VPC1.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2775307
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
3. What's wrong with version 1 that would make people clamor for a version 2

I think the biggest upgrade would be the ability to use the MP11SEs 3 optical pedals, because the F-30 has a pretty bad rep.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2791865
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With the advent of VSTs, piano controllers like the VPC1 and digital pianos with upgradeable samples/tones (think Nord & Dexibell) are the future. the VPC1 piano controller concept is very likely going to gain a much larger foothold in the years to come. It's niche is already expanding and will further expand into the future. I commend Kawai for developing such a product ahead of everybody else and really hope that they will not neglect this product going forward,



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2791878
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Originally Posted by halherta
With the advent of VSTs, piano controllers like the VPC1 and digital pianos with upgradeable samples/tones (think Nord & Dexibell) are the future. the VPC1 piano controller concept is very likely going to gain a much larger foothold in the years to come. It's niche is already expanding and will further expand into the future. I commend Kawai for developing such a product ahead of everybody else and really hope that they will not neglect this product going forward,


The controller is the way to go, it's nice to have things separate, if the computer breaks you replace it, if the key contact board fails you replace it, if the speakers fail you replace them, but the nice action is future proof, just like an acoustic piano, it will last forever. Also I think that anything less than a grand feel action will become obsolete in 1 year.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: pold] #2791904
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Originally Posted by pold
Also I think that anything less than a grand feel action will become obsolete in 1 year.

Then the VPC1 is not the way to go for you, since it has a RM3 Grand II action, not the Grand Feel action which is in the MP11SE. You'll have to wait and see if there is a VPC2 also.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: pold] #2791956
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Originally Posted by pold
Originally Posted by halherta
With the advent of VSTs, piano controllers like the VPC1 and digital pianos with upgradeable samples/tones (think Nord & Dexibell) are the future. the VPC1 piano controller concept is very likely going to gain a much larger foothold in the years to come. It's niche is already expanding and will further expand into the future. I commend Kawai for developing such a product ahead of everybody else and really hope that they will not neglect this product going forward,


The controller is the way to go, it's nice to have things separate, if the computer breaks you replace it, if the key contact board fails you replace it, if the speakers fail you replace them, but the nice action is future proof, just like an acoustic piano, it will last forever. Also I think that anything less than a grand feel action will become obsolete in 1 year.


I agree with this sentiment. Having each component of a DP setup separated like that reduces points of failures and allows the owner to optimize each component independently i.e. speakers, keybed action, audio interface e.t.c.

I predict the VPC2 will probably get a flat top, optical 3-pedal and either a GF-C action without a price hike or a GF I/II action with a price hike. Adding the GF I/II action to the VPC2 without a price hike doesn't make much financial sense for Kawai as it will cannibalize MP11SE sales. I don't know if the VPC2 will be released in NAMM 2019 but I'd be surprised if it isn't released some time in the next two years or so.



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: pold] #2791957
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Originally Posted by pold

The controller is the way to go, it's nice to have things separate, if the computer breaks you replace it, if the key contact board fails you replace it, if the speakers fail you replace them, but the nice action is future proof, just like an acoustic piano, it will last forever. Also I think that anything less than a grand feel action will become obsolete in 1 year.


The thing is, a piano keyboard might be ONLY a controller (like the VPC1) or any number of similarly priced DPs which work just as well (though without built in velocity curves). When you say 'grand feel' do you mean Grand Feel as in Kawai, or any good hammer action by Yamaha, Roland, Casio etc.?

Two things were not clear to me: Why would any action other than 'grand feel' become 'obsolete in 1 year'? And on the other hand, Why would a controller keyboard be any more future proof than any other DP. (Some people expect about 5 years trouble free out of a DP although personally I don't agree - anything less than 20 years problem free usage from a DP would be a bit of a disappointment).


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: toddy] #2791973
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Originally Posted by toddy

The thing is, a piano keyboard might be ONLY a controller (like the VPC1) or any number of similarly priced DPs which work just as well (though without built in velocity curves). When you say 'grand feel' do you mean Grand Feel as in Kawai, or any good hammer action by Yamaha, Roland, Casio etc.?


I think @pold is referring to Kawai's Grand Feel. At least that is what I'm referring to.

Originally Posted by toddy

Two things were not clear to me: Why would any action other than 'grand feel' become 'obsolete in 1 year'? And on the other hand, Why would a controller keyboard be any more future proof than any other DP. (Some people expect about 5 years trouble free out of a DP although personally I don't agree - anything less than 20 years problem free usage from a DP would be a bit of a disappointment).


I don't think actions especially good ones such as Kawai's GFI/II/C or even the older but still very decent RM3 Grand II will become obsolete anytime soon, especially if Kawai continues to support them. But tone generation seems to change quite a bit every 3-5 years. This is why in my mind future proofing a digital piano entails purchasing one with a good action and downloadable sounds, or a piano controller only with a good action used with VSTs running on a PC.

Or even better DP manufacturers ought to offer a digital piano that integrates a highend keybed with powerful PC/PC Motherboard with upgradable RAM and storage!. Imagine a DP running Windows! and has Ethernet and HDMI out! This would be the best of both worlds. Though stability and startup time could take a hit.



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2792006
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Originally Posted by halherta
I don't think actions especially good ones such as Kawai's GFI/II/C or even the older but still very decent RM3 Grand II will become obsolete anytime soon, especially if Kawai continues to support them. But tone generation seems to change quite a bit every 3-5 years. This is why in my mind future proofing a digital piano entails purchasing one with a good action and downloadable sounds, or a piano controller only with a good action used with VSTs running on a PC.

Or even better DP manufacturers ought to offer a digital piano that integrates a highend keybed with powerful PC/PC Motherboard with upgradable RAM and storage!. Imagine a DP running Windows! and has Ethernet and HDMI out! This would be the best of both worlds. Though stability and startup time could take a hit.


I agree with your first paragraph. A good action is the most important thing in a DP because, technically, it won't become obsolete within a few years (or ever) whereas sound production technology evolves quite quickly. And if the build quality is good - as I know Yamaha and Roland to be at least - then it shouldn't wear out either for at least 25 years - hopefully many more.

As far as using programmable operating systems in a DP - Korg and Nord already do, to an extent. But the option of discrete components - computer, interface, controller, audio system - is ideal as far as I'm concerned. And DP makers prefer the software to age along with the hardware and cabinet for obvious reasons.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792023
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This might be so ...
Originally Posted by halherta
The VPC1 piano controller concept is very likely going to gain a much larger foothold in the years to come. It's niche is already expanding ...
... but I see no evidence nor any data to support this. The VPC is a slow seller. It occupies a tiny fraction of the digital piano market. What do you foresee that might change that?

And this is speculation (or a wish list?) with no discernable support:
Originally Posted by halherta
I predict the VPC2 will probably get a flat top, optical 3-pedal and either a GF-C action without a price hike or a GF I/II action with a price hike.
I want these things too. But I'm not holding my breath.


I think we need to be more clear on what it means to be "obsolete" ...
Originally Posted by toddy
A good action is the most important thing in a DP because it won't become obsolete within a few years ...
Won't there be new actions in a few years? Will they be better? If so would the old action be considered obsolete?

As for sound becoming obsolete ...
Originally Posted by toddy
... sound production technology evolves quite quickly.
Actually the sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.

On the other hand ... if sound technology is to be considered obsolete when newer, better ones come along ... then if we compare any new digital piano to the sound from a decent virtual instrument ... the digital piano is already obsolete while still wrapped in its original packaging!

Finally ... when is a piano "worn out"?
Originally Posted by toddy
... if the build quality is good ... then it shouldn't wear out either for at least 25 years.
Mine is ten years old. It needed repairs four times. It needed lubrication three times. And the feel is not as good as when new. I think of it as nearing the "worn out" stage.

Luckily there have been no electrical failures. I say lucky because replacement of unique parts might eventually become difficult. So ... will this piano last yet another fiften years? I don't expect so.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792028
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I think we need to be more clear on what it means to be "obsolete" ...

Obsolete means so much worse than the current technology as to be considered almost useless. Not the case with hammer action keyboards. Even the ancient KX88 (1985?] is considered a viable - even preferable - option to some of today's DP keyboards.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
As for sound becoming obsolete ...
Originally Posted by toddy
... sound production technology evolves quite quickly.
Actually the sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.

But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
... when is a piano "worn out"?
Originally Posted by toddy
... if the build quality is good ... then it shouldn't wear out either for at least 25 years.
Mine is ten years old. It needed repairs four times. It needed lubrication three times. And the feel is not as good as when new. I think of it as nearing the "worn out" stage.

Sounds like bad luck. The only Clavinova I know is also 10 years old and lower in the series than yours (it's a CLP220) , and it still plays as well as when it was new. It's had constant though not very heavy use.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: toddy] #2792038
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I feel the opposite ... that the actions have progressed nicely (witness the actions on the high-end CA and CS series), whilst the sound is going almost nowhere.
Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.
But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: toddy] #2792051
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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by pold

The controller is the way to go, it's nice to have things separate, if the computer breaks you replace it, if the key contact board fails you replace it, if the speakers fail you replace them, but the nice action is future proof, just like an acoustic piano, it will last forever. Also I think that anything less than a grand feel action will become obsolete in 1 year.


The thing is, a piano keyboard might be ONLY a controller (like the VPC1) or any number of similarly priced DPs which work just as well (though without built in velocity curves). When you say 'grand feel' do you mean Grand Feel as in Kawai, or any good hammer action by Yamaha, Roland, Casio etc.?

Two things were not clear to me: Why would any action other than 'grand feel' become 'obsolete in 1 year'? And on the other hand, Why would a controller keyboard be any more future proof than any other DP. (Some people expect about 5 years trouble free out of a DP although personally I don't agree - anything less than 20 years problem free usage from a DP would be a bit of a disappointment).


I am talking about what I expect from the near future. Lets's face it, the action once it gets at the Kawai Grand Feel level (or any other good actions that i am not familiar with, the RM3 it's future proof in a way because it's not that bad at all), it cannot get any better, so I expect all the customers to buy only that kind of action, and all the manufactureres will have to adapt or sink. Once you have a good midi controller, the thing you might replace are the software or the pc, but the action itself I see it as a future-proof instrument, the thing you need to replace maybe can be the rubber strips or the contact board. So that's why I want to see what will succeed the VPC1 in the near future, from Kawai etc, and from Fatar as well, maybe they will adapt too.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792054
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I feel the opposite ... that the actions have progressed nicely (witness the actions on the high-end CA and CS series), whilst the sound is going almost nowhere.
Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.
But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.

Mmm - maybe I overemphasized the difference smile but as far as we and others on this site are concerned, it's innovation and improvement in VSTs that counts.

But even on DPs, Roland did good things with SN and SN modelling (though I prefer the earlier version in that case, frankly) and haven't Kawai and Yamaha considerably upper their game with the latest generation. I really liked Kawai SK-EX in one of the clips posted on here - beautiful sound.

Last edited by toddy; 12/16/18 04:41 PM.

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: pold] #2792057
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Originally Posted by pold

Once you have a good midi controller, the thing you might replace are the software or the pc, but the action itself I see it as a future-proof instrument, the thing you need to replace maybe can be the rubber strips or the contact board. So that's why I want to see what will succeed the VPC1 in the near future, from Kawai


Agreed. That's the way I thought when I got my DP - that's why I got a DP with PHA II - best I had come across at the time, apart from PHA III, which was way out of my price range. But I think your point applies to ordinary DPs just as much as to controller only keyboards like the Fatar or VPC1.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792080
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I feel the opposite ... that the actions have progressed nicely (witness the actions on the high-end CA and CS series), whilst the sound is going almost nowhere.
Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.
But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.

I agree with that. The actions have progressed nicely. I don’t think they will get considerably better - particularly the ones found in NV10 and Avantgrand. They could definitely come down in price for sure - and hope that the market will move them in that direction. Especially if Roland Hybrid Grand comes to slab pianos such as FP-30/FP-90 - that would be a great improvement in DP actions availability at those price points.

Re: samples/sound - they haven’t progressed as much as one might hope. But, there is some hope that they will get better as VSTs get better.

Re: sound reproduction, headphone sound is really great. But, I have very little hope that the speaker sound will get much better. Even the top range (NV10/AvantGrand N1/N2 etc.) have a very unsatisfying speaker sound. The only ‘acceptable’ speaker sound I have heard in DPs is Yamaha AvantGrand N3X.

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792091
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
This might be so ...
Originally Posted by halherta
The VPC1 piano controller concept is very likely going to gain a much larger foothold in the years to come. It's niche is already expanding ...
... but I see no evidence nor any data to support this. The VPC is a slow seller. It occupies a tiny fraction of the digital piano market. What do you foresee that might change that?


I might not have statistics to back this claim up (not sure if you do) but one can look at the trends. New VSTs are popping up everyday now. Soon it will become evident to manufacturers that putting one or two nice fixed piano samples on their DPs simply won't cut it. Customers will start demanding the ability to install their own piano sounds. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future DPs will have built-in app stores where the customer can purchase and download a variety of piano samples. Until then the VPC makes a lot of sense and offers a high degree of bang for buck for those interested in having a really nice action to use with their VSTs without breaking the bank.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

And this is speculation (or a wish list?) with no discernable support:
Originally Posted by halherta
I predict the VPC2 will probably get a flat top, optical 3-pedal and either a GF-C action without a price hike or a GF I/II action with a price hike.
I want these things too. But I'm not holding my breath.


Yes this is speculation and a wishlist. No I do not have discernable support to back it up. I don't have to. I did use the word 'predict' implying that I don't know for sure. It's just a mere educated guess. I haven't added anything here that hasn't been mentioned before in other comments in this thread.



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792100
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“Customers will start demanding the ability to install their own piano sounds. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future DPs will have built-in app stores where the customer can purchase and download a variety of piano samples.”

We are near with Nord Piano where there is a free online piano library from which we can download what we want. However, nothing to help concurrent piano bank providers. (Specification standard, anti-piracy measures).


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2792112
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We can always hope ...
Originally Posted by halherta
I wouldn't be surprised if in the future DPs will have built-in app stores where the customer can purchase and download a variety of piano samples.

Yes, the VPC is well-suited, though I wish it had a better action ...
Originally Posted by halherta
Until then the VPC makes a lot of sense and offers a high degree of bang for buck for those interested in having a really nice action to use with their VSTs without breaking the bank.
I wonder what Kawai does to help market the VPC. The stores show it with no attached computer. No sound!

How many people would buy a car that you could not first test drive?

Get with it, Kawai!

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792144
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Hello Mac,

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I wonder what Kawai does to help market the VPC. The stores show it with no attached computer. No sound!


The VPC1 is largely sold online, where margins are razor thin. For this reason, there is less incentive for smaller, independent Kawai dealers to show the product in their store.

However, for those that do... even without a computer attached and no sound produced, simply touching the VPC1 keyboard should be enough for most customers considering a MIDI controller to realise that it offers the most realistic action available for the price.

Also, as you correctly note:

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
1. The VPC fits into a very narrow market space.
2. It has no competition.


Anyone interested in virtual piano software will very quickly find out about the VPC1 via social media and forums such as this one.

So in a sense, this thread is also contributing to Kawai's VPC marketing efforts - thank you for your help! wink

Kind regards,
James
x


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792240
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IMO, it is the price of the VPC1 in relation
- to the neglected regulation of the action (cf. "Ravensworks") and
- the use of mechanic graphite eletric rubber dome contacts instead of optical sensors,
that prevents me from purchasing the VPC1.
E.g in Austria (EU) the MIDI-controller-only VPC1 (not in stock) is currently just EUR 200- less than the full featured P-515.
I do not believe, that the profit margins are "razor thin". After all the VPC1 is assempled in an extra low-wage country.

And I think that the sound generation will develop dramaticly in the near future:
a) because technology is available and cheap in 2018: you could use lots of cheap memory and powerful processing for Multi-GB samples, or
b) imagine an evolution of Pianoteq usind the processing power of a FPGA instead of a Rasperry Pi, as it is capable of today already.
If the big OEMs wont perform, it will be a form of OSS project (e.g. Zynthian.org) which will deliver the progress to the the market.

asaof...

Kind Regards,
Lo PHi

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: lophiomys] #2792252
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Originally Posted by lophiomys
IMO, it is the price of the VPC1 in relation
- to the neglected regulation of the action (cf. "Ravensworks") and
- the use of mechanic graphite eletric rubber dome contacts instead of optical sensors,
that prevents me from purchasing the VPC1.
E.g in Austria (EU) the MIDI-controller-only VPC1 (not in stock) is currently just EUR 200- less than the full featured P-515.
I do not believe, that the profit margins are "razor thin". After all the VPC1 is assempled in an extra low-wage country.


Where i live the P-515 goes for $1899 CAD whereas the VPC1 is more expensive at around $2199 CAD. That's 300 CAD more (225 USD) for the VPC1. Still I think that the RM3 Grand II action is better than NWX but cannot comment on durability.

Can you comment more on this neglected regulation of the action and the lack of optical sensors? Are there better piano controllers out there that utilize optical sensors within the price range of the VPC1? Does the P515 utilize optical sensors and possess better action regulation than the VPC1? Just trying to understand.

I believe the Ravenworks piano controller costs more than double of what the VPC1 would cost. So perhaps the comparison here is somewhat unfair.

As for profit margins being "razor thin", I have no way of confirming or denying it, but most digital pianos, including high end ones are all assembled in low-wage countries. Unfortunately it is a necessity in today's market where everybody else is doing it. I personally am not a big fan of outsourcing/offshoring but that's another topic for another forum.

Also on that topic, Last summer I decided to purchase a Korg G1 air. One of the Korg's selling points was the fact that it was "Made in Japan" unlike those other manufacturers that manufacture there DPs in low wage countries. I ended up returning the brand new G1 air after a couple of days due to problems with the keys. So just because a DP is manufactured in a high-wage country does not automatically translate to better build quality/durability.

Originally Posted by lophiomys

And I think that the sound generation will develop dramaticly in the near future:
a) because technology is available and cheap in 2018: you could use lots of cheap memory and powerful processing for Multi-GB samples, or
b) imagine an evolution of Pianoteq usind the processing power of a FPGA instead of a Rasperry Pi, as it is capable of today already.
If the big OEMs wont perform, it will be a form of OSS project (e.g. Zynthian.org) which will deliver the progress to the the market.

asaof...

Kind Regards,
Lo PHi



I generally agree with this. And thanks for pointing out the Zynthian project. I'm a big open source fan and have used JACK and Linux Sampler to play .sf2/.sfz/.gig sound fonts through my DP in the past. It works surprisingly well when setup properly.I had to compile Linux Sampler from source to make it work though, quite the barrier for non-techies. This Zynthian project takes all of the complexity out of the setup so it seems to be a better way to go. Though I couldn't help but wonder if better performance can be achieved by using a NUC instead of a Raspberry Pi 3 with a tiny 1GB of RAM.

There also doesn't seem to be many high fidelity sound fonts available for free or commercially in the .sfz/.sf2/.gig formats. Probably due to piracy concerns. I'd like to see more soundfonts available in these formats in the future.

Last edited by halherta; 12/17/18 07:19 AM.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792256
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lophiomys: I think you're dreaming! smile

Nearly all pianos have the rubber contacts, save for a very few high-end models. The optical sensors and the associated supporting elements are expensive to build and maintain because of the complexity.

Yes, the rubber domes are prone to wear. I've replaced five of them on my piano. But I can't afford a piano with the optical version. I cannot imagine a sub-$2000 VPC using optical sensors.

To your points (a) and (b) ...
a. Yes, technology is cheap. But product development and product distribution are not.
b. Yes, I can imagine an evolution of Pianoteq. But what has that to do with the VPC? This is a controller. If you put Pianoteq inside then it becomes yet another digital piano. And it's no longer a VPC.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792322
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I am curious to know if, in theory, could you replace a rubber contacts with optical sensors?

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792334
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That would require a complete redesign. So the simple answer is no.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: pold] #2792335
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Originally Posted by pold
I am curious to know if, in theory, could you replace a rubber contacts with optical sensors?


I'm curious now as well. Anyone know what kind of optical sensor is being used here? I have an Electrical Engineering background and know my way around electronics. Perhaps I'll buy two VPC1s. One to tinker with and the other to play on!



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2792365
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Originally Posted by halherta
I'm curious now as well. Anyone know what kind of optical sensor is being used here? I have an Electrical Engineering background and know my way around electronics. Perhaps I'll buy two VPC1s. One to tinker with and the other to play on!


Digital pianos typically use rubber contact sensors. There are a few super-interesting threads here discussing optical sensors so do a search here. Most recently, see CyberGene's thread recommissioning of an old gran action with optical sensors; that is a good place to start.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792397
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Thanks @newer_player for the info. Looking at that thread right now.



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792703
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I was at a Kawai store last Saturday looking at the CA58/78. The salesman mentioned that the CA58 has the Grand Feel Compact action.
I asked "Isn't that an upgrade to the RM3 Grand II action in the VPC1?" He said something to the effect of "yeah and the VPC2 will [/ might] get the compact action."
Now, whether or not he was speculating or speaking from inside knowledge, well it remains to be seen...(I didn't ask further because my focus was on the CA58)

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792709
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Q: How do you know when a salesman is lying?
A: His lips are moving.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792715
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He was not technically lying. I'm pretty sure that the VPC2 will be released at some point. If not in the next couple of months then very likely in the next couple of years.

Having said that, people have been incorrectly predicting the VPC2 announcement date for at least 5 years now. So who knows.



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792726
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What makes you say "pretty likely"? What makes it likely?

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Ctopher7] #2792745
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Originally Posted by Ctopher7
I was at a Kawai store last Saturday looking at the CA58/78. The salesman mentioned that the CA58 has the Grand Feel Compact action.
I asked "Isn't that an upgrade to the RM3 Grand II action in the VPC1?" He said something to the effect of "yeah and the VPC2 will [/ might] get the compact action."
Now, whether or not he was speculating or speaking from inside knowledge, well it remains to be seen...(I didn't ask further because my focus was on the CA58)


It's a shame that you didn't ask him to elaborate.

So did you try the GF-C action on the CA58? If so how did it compare to the GFII action on the CA78?



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2793055
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Originally Posted by halherta


It's a shame that you didn't ask him to elaborate.


Yeah yeah I know. My wife tells me I get focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else. :-)

Originally Posted by halherta


So did you try the GF-C action on the CA58? If so how did it compare to the GFII action on the CA78?


I've always preferred Kawai actions - whether on the MP9000 (which I have) or on the VPC1. The CA58 action seemed just slightly fatiguing - never encountered that on a Kawai. However my wrists have been sore lately so I would need to try it again.
The CA78 was noticeably smoother and felt nicely playable - best Kawai action I've tried.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Ctopher7] #2793164
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Originally Posted by Ctopher7

Yeah yeah I know. My wife tells me I get focused on one thing to the exclusion of all else. :-)


It's OK. I'm like that too!

Originally Posted by Ctopher7

I've always preferred Kawai actions - whether on the MP9000 (which I have) or on the VPC1. The CA58 action seemed just slightly fatiguing - never encountered that on a Kawai. However my wrists have been sore lately so I would need to try it again.
The CA78 was noticeably smoother and felt nicely playable - best Kawai action I've tried.


Thanks for sharing this info. Have you decided which one you'll get?



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2793421
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Quote
Thanks for sharing this info. Have you decided which one you'll get?


Well...

I'd like to get the CA78. But the spending decision is not mine alone. We'll likely decide by next week.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796578
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Intrigued to see what happens here. I have a FP30 that I'm using to control a Dexibell SX7 but have a line on a nearly new (1 year old, still under warranty) used VPC1 with an RME Babyface Pro for €1350 from a guy that's moving next week. I thought the MP11 action was lovely, have never played the VPC1. It's an hour drive just to pick it up. Then again, NAMM is next month. Why doesn't Roland come out with a successor to the A88? Because they want us to buy a FP90 instead?

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796604
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At this point NAMM 2019 is less than 4 weeks away. If you already have a DP to practice on, I'd recommend that you wait untl then. This way you get to see what all the major DP manufacturers have in store; not just Kawai, but Roland and Yamaha as well. Worst case scenario you delay purchasing the VPC-1 by another month. Best case, you catch sight of a newly released DP/ controller that might be a better fit for your needs. Either way, no regrets.

Patience is a virtue!

Last edited by halherta; 12/29/18 07:21 PM.


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796616
12/29/18 08:39 PM
12/29/18 08:39 PM
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ITEM #1: NAMM might be just a month away. But the new pianos won't likely be in stores for six months. (Even longer in the boondocks.)

ITEM #2: As for the VPC priced at 1350 EUR ... that's about $1550 USD.
That's about the price paid by lots of folks here in the US for a NEW unit ... and MORE than buyers have paid in Europe for a NEW unit.
I refer you to the prices paid thread, or to the corresponding spreadsheet at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdESI8nPDtaQzhZeUh6UlBRZlk/view
The listings show the following:
Code
In Europe
Sep 2013 . . 1090 GBP ($1730 equiv)
Nov 2014 . . 1099 GBP ($1722 equiv)
Jan 2015 . . 1090 GBP ($1652 equiv)
Sep 2015 . . 1000 GBP ($1535 equiv)
Oct 2013 . .  980 EUR ($1322 equiv)
Mar 2015 . . 1330 EUR ($1396 equiv)

In the US
Dec 2013 . . $1572
Dec 2013 . . $1849
Feb 2014 . . $1572
Nov 2013 . . $1572
Jun 2014 . . $1572
May 2015 . . $1615
Jun 2015 . . $1465
So maybe the included Babyface Pro is worth a lot? I don't know.
But I do know that $100 or $150 buys a proper audio interface from M-Audio or Presonus or Focusrite.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796646
12/29/18 11:53 PM
12/29/18 11:53 PM
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I agree with MacMacMac that that used VPC1 is not a great deal. And yes if a new controller / digital piano is released at NAMM it'll probably be at least another 2-3 months before that device is on the market. But if you plan to keep that device for years to come, a 2-3 month wait is worth it trust me. And if nothing of interest is released, then you can go ahead and buy the VPC-1 with nothing to lose and no regrets. Just my two cents.



Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796788
12/30/18 02:42 PM
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Thank you for all the price data, suggestions and advice.

The used price for a VPC1 separately is €900, which is going market price here for the unit that is 1 year and still under warranty.

(The €1350 was for a VPC1 and the RME Babyface Pro, which alone is about €700 new.)

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796837
12/30/18 05:24 PM
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Curious, tomich, why the RME is of interest to you? You can get a good AI for a quarter of the price and the RME is overkill unless you have a semi pro studio going. Then there are more capable units like Audient has which are more versatile and cheaper as I understand it. I use a Steinberg UR22 mk2, under $200. But maybe I just don't understand your setup.


Jazz at www.newartistsrecords.com. Search Michael Levy. Use Safari for free tracks.
https://soundcloud.com/michael-levy-387395070
1915 Steinway B, Kawai MP11se, Casio AT5
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796883
12/30/18 07:25 PM
12/30/18 07:25 PM
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That's what I was thinking. That Babyface is awfully expensive! And for what?? frown

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796912
12/30/18 08:37 PM
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Personally I'm very happy with my RME interface, it's got me a latency setting I absolutely couldn't get with other interfaces.

Mine cost only $235, however, though if I couldnt've found it one at that price, it'd been worth it full price. You can find used RME HDSP 9632 (what I have) for around that price, and you're set as long as you have a PCI slot, though many newer computers don't have them (only PCIe).


Roland FP-90 - Touchkeys - TEC BC - MIDI Expression
Kontakt - Arturia Piano V - Sonivox Eighty-Eight - Spitfire Symphony Orchestra

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796916
12/30/18 08:43 PM
12/30/18 08:43 PM
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The RME BabyFace Pro is great for home-studio work. It also has the lowest latency (USB & Thunderblot), has rock-solid stable drivers, and claims industry-leading low-jitter performance. The headphone outputs are powerful enough and sound good enough.

The RME is also very expensive and feature-rich. There are plenty of other good interfaces for much less money.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796924
12/30/18 09:10 PM
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tomich, have a look at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4. It's great! Has balanced and unbalanced outputs, excellent headphone amplifier, high fidelity DAC (192KHz), MIDI IN/OUT in addition to two microphone inputs. Comes with its own optimized ASIO drivers for Windows/Mac and works out of the box on Linux. It also includes a bunch of software including Ableton Live Lite and one of the Piano VSTs from Addictive Keys. It costs $200USD. For this level of functionality and integration, it is an amazing bargain.

The UR22 Steinberg is also a great AI and goes for $150USD.



Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796952
12/30/18 11:40 PM
12/30/18 11:40 PM
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This is going to sound a bit stupid, especially since I use a DAC with my computer (just another form of external audio interface), but for the life of me, I can't see what an external audio interface as RME Babyface, Focusrite Scarlett, etc. can do for a digital piano. How does one hook it up to a piano and what does it do that the native digital piano can't do by itself?

...Or maybe I do know. Are those using one just connecting it to their computer as an Analog-to-Digital (A/D) interface for their piano's line-out?


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2796965
12/31/18 12:24 AM
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These AIs have a USB connection. Plug into your PC and the PC sees it as a high fidelity and low latency sound card. It sends audio from the PC to its output ports (Headphone out for headphones, Balanced out or Unbalanced out for speakers), and can receive audio from its inputs (microphone inputs). In my case I use the output ports. I get the VST software to route audio data to say the headphone port or to the Balanced/UnBlanaced outs for speakers.

The Focusrite also has MIDI IN/OUT ports, so one can hook the MIDI out port from your DP/controller to the MIDI IN on the Focusrite and the Focusrite will now route the midi data from the DP/controller through the focusrite and into the PC via its USB connection. So in addition to acting as a high fidelity USB sound card, it's also a MIDI to USB converter.

Hope this helps



Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2796967
12/31/18 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

...Or maybe I do know. Are those using one just connecting it to their computer as an Analog-to-Digital (A/D) interface for their piano's line-out?


Guessing it's also pretty handy for recording a performance on to an audio editor etc. on the PC. So recording, I would have thought would be the main reason.

Also, if you're Krystian Zimerman, it has a mic socket that you can plug a mic into, to ensure that your humming appears in full force on your latest perfect and delightful recording.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2797326
01/01/19 04:46 AM
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I got the VPC1 with the stand used and it does all I hoped it to for a piano controller. It feels better than many acoustic pianos I have played in my life and works well with the Dexibell SX7. I haven't played with the velocity curves, but one new year's resolution is to play more music instead of playing with my instruments. Thank you for the endless insight and advice from all of you.

Feliz año nuevo from Spain!

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: tomich] #2797439
01/01/19 12:21 PM
01/01/19 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tomich
I got the VPC1 with the stand used and it does all I hoped it to for a piano controller. It feels better than many acoustic pianos I have played in my life and works well with the Dexibell SX7. I haven't played with the velocity curves, but one new year's resolution is to play more music instead of playing with my instruments. Thank you for the endless insight and advice from all of you.

Feliz año nuevo from Spain!


Congrats on your VPC-1! And happy new year!



Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Ctopher7] #2797500
01/01/19 03:19 PM
01/01/19 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Ctopher7
I was at a Kawai store last Saturday looking at the CA58/78. The salesman mentioned that the CA58 has the Grand Feel Compact action.
I asked "Isn't that an upgrade to the RM3 Grand II action in the VPC1?" He said something to the effect of "yeah and the VPC2 will [/ might] get the compact action."
Now, whether or not he was speculating or speaking from inside knowledge, well it remains to be seen...(I didn't ask further because my focus was on the CA58)


I was at the same Kawai dealer yesterday speaking to a different salesman. (Merriam Music, a big Kawai dealer) I mentioned the discussion above. He said he hadn't heard any news about a VPC2.

But he did note that the ES8 digital piano is now discounted so that's a likely sign of a new model being imminent. However no discount on the VPC1 (yet)...

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2801115
01/12/19 06:54 AM
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Shouldn't the newer models come all 5 years? I want to have the best Piano possible, couple it with pianoteq VST and then learn Piano.
https://www.youtube.com/user/marasy8 is the style of what i want to learn. Budget around 3000 EUR at max. The Kawai CA-78 model does quite scare me bc of the high price tag and because i still have a sexy Keyboard Stand with wheels.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: nicknameTaken] #2801172
01/12/19 10:23 AM
01/12/19 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by nicknameTaken
Shouldn't the newer models come all 5 years? I want to have the best Piano possible, couple it with pianoteq VST and then learn Piano.
https://www.youtube.com/user/marasy8 is the style of what i want to learn. Budget around 3000 EUR at max. The Kawai CA-78 model does quite scare me bc of the high price tag and because i still have a sexy Keyboard Stand with wheels.

For 3000€, why not forget the VPC1 and just buy an MP11SE? It has a better action, and it's possible that the future VPC2 would only have an action as good as the current MP11SE. And it will go on your sexy stand with wheels. My piano teacher suggested the MP11SE as an option for me when I raised the idea of a VPC1.

Originally Posted by nicknameTaken
...and then learn Piano.

In any case, I am negative about the idea in general that one should wait for a precondition like having a certain model piano be release before starting a hobby/pastime. If one is serious about one's hobby, it can be started with even less than optimal equipment, and then upgraded later as time and budget allows.

This reminds me of a story I read on the Internet a few years back about a fellow building his own kit airplane. In not so many words, he remarked that he wanted to learn how to fly, but decided he needed an airplane so started work on building his own, an endeavor that ended up taking at least 7 years. I thought to myself - so his hobby wasn't flying then.... it was building an airplane! grin


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2801194
01/12/19 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by nicknameTaken
...and then learn Piano.
In any case, I am negative about the idea in general that one should wait for a precondition like having a certain model piano be release before starting a hobby/pastime. If one is serious about one's hobby, it can be started with even less than optimal equipment, and then upgraded later as time and budget allows.


I had a Yamaha P45 and a Korg D1 for 1 and a half year and was very unsatisfied with the bad Key Action.
Which is why i decided to buy something 'good'.
The Kawai MP11-SE is certainly good. It even is not as expensive as the ca-78.
If i can't find a teacher that drives home to me, i will try taking online lessons. Actually puting a tripod ontop of the instrument, or behind it.

Actually i'm unsure about one thing: The height. My Keyboard stand is 65cm with wheels at minimum position, the mp11-se is 19cm, will that make problems? I am about 165cm tall.

Last edited by nicknameTaken; 01/12/19 11:25 AM.
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: nicknameTaken] #2801392
01/12/19 09:27 PM
01/12/19 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by nicknameTaken
Shouldn't the newer models come all 5 years? I want to have the best Piano possible, couple it with pianoteq VST and then learn Piano.
https://www.youtube.com/user/marasy8 is the style of what i want to learn. Budget around 3000 EUR at max. The Kawai CA-78 model does quite scare me bc of the high price tag and because i still have a sexy Keyboard Stand with wheels.


I think that the VPC-1 was introduced in Winter NAMM 2013 so its been 6 years. But because it is in a unique product category (piano controller) with little to no competition, it is still the best piano controller that you can get for the money and Kawai has little incentive to upgrade it. In fact if Kawai upgrades the VPC's action to GF or GFII it risks cannibalizing its sales of the MP11SE and its high end CA/CS series console DPs. The MP11SE is a much better alternative in my opinion if you are willing to spend the extra money. But the VPC-1 is still a very decent option as well.

I can see Kawai updating the VPC1 to a GF-C action sometime in the near future. They should at the very least change the pedal to an optical one and possibly allow for use of generic sustain pedals without major modifications/hardware hacking.

Last edited by halherta; 01/12/19 09:28 PM.


Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: nicknameTaken] #2801394
01/12/19 09:35 PM
01/12/19 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by nicknameTaken
If i can't find a teacher that drives home to me, i will try taking online lessons.

There are many different threads about different online options on the ABF forum. Also, another online option that you can explore is with a piano teacher via video messenger. You can also post to ABF about that. There are two recent posts about this and the OPs of those two threads are close to finding teachers I think.

Originally Posted by nicknameTaken
Actually i'm unsure about one thing: The height. My Keyboard stand is 65cm with wheels at minimum position, the mp11-se is 19cm, will that make problems? I am about 165cm tall.

For classical piano, my research has shown that a good height is so that when you are sitting at the bench with your fingers on the keys, the bottom surface of your elbows are exactly level with the tops of the keys. I've also seen you can go about 1cm below this too. However, for me, I find I actually need to go up a bit or else my wrists often will sag to below the level of the key tops, which is bad.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
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