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Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco #2723182
03/21/18 11:10 AM
03/21/18 11:10 AM
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MallocArray Offline OP
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We have a 1965 Gulbransen Diacron upright piano that was given to us and our young daughter has been taking lessons for the last 1.5 years and enjoying it. My wife and I both played as children and want to get back into it, but our practice time would be after kids are in bed, so we are looking at digital pianos for headphone usage and we would like to change where the piano is located, but it must be under 53.5 inches to fit where we want.

Locally we have gone to two different resellers and found the Kawai CN27 and Yamaha CLP-625 that will fit where we are wanting to. The Kawai is about $250 cheaper and since the only comparison we have are old uprights, we don't know what a grand piano feels like or how either of these compare to the real thing. The Kawai keys seem to have more bounce after playing them, while the Yamaha has a firmer feel. In the store with headphones, the Yamaha sounded more enveloping, but they may have just had better headphones.

Any experience with the differences between the two we should be considering? The Kawai has an easier user interface, but I'm sure we could work with the Yamaha. Some experienced piano players in our family recommended the Clavinova line so if we go against their recommendation, we want to feel confident in the decision. Both are a little above our "immediate purchase" price point, but we are willing to pay for something that will be a quality product for all of us to use.

Since reading on this forum, I found out about Costco Yamaha events and one is coming up soon. Should I expect to see any significant discount compared to the only local store that is an authorized Yamaha dealer, or will it just be an extension of their store and not worth waiting? Since the CLP-625 is the lowest of the Clavinova line, will they even have it?

Thank you for your input as we make our decision.

Last edited by MallocArray; 03/21/18 11:21 AM.
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Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2723220
03/21/18 01:36 PM
03/21/18 01:36 PM
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MacMacMac Offline
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The dealer's quoted price on these pianos is just an asking price. You are free to offer a lower figure.
Dealers don't put merchandise on sale. You do!

As for Yamaha vs. Kawai ... I'd lean toward the Kawai. But in the end you have to be satisfied with the piano.

And you need not be concerned about "going against the recommendation" of the experienced pianists in your family.
A general recommendation of one brand over another doesn't mean much.
So unless your experienced pianist accompanies you on a shopping trip to try the pianos first-hand, just set aside his opinion and decide for yourself.

Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2723630
03/22/18 08:39 PM
03/22/18 08:39 PM
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Lotus1 Offline
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MallocArray, I concur with MacMacMac's comments on:

* Deciding which digital piano works best for you, as you and your wife have some experience of playing acoustic pianos before, even if it was a long time ago. I returned to the piano after over four decades away and was still able to decide between several good options, e.g., by researching specifications on the net and by using repeated notes and trills to assess key action.
* Negotiating a price with the dealer, as MSRPs really mean nothing. Use the "Prices Paid" sticky thread at the top of this forum to help. Manufacturers don't make this easy, especially for those pianos not sold by the large chains or on the internet, but it is still possible.

A couple of other comments:
Could you dispense with the "under 53.5 inch" restriction, which eliminates many good pianos that are just a few inches longer?

I don't know much about Kawais in this price range, but will point out that Yamaha's different lines have a great deal of overlap. You are considering the lowest priced Clavinova, but should also check out the higher spec units in the Arius range (YDP-184 and 163) as they may offer more value. What's more, these are carried by the large chains and internet stores, so a discount from the MSRP (to the MAP) and/or waiting for a percentage-off sale are viable options.

I don't believe the Costco Yamaha events are an extension of the local Yamaha store. The "Prices Paid" thread has some recent comments on this. If one is coming up shortly, I would wait for it. Good luck!

Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2723642
03/22/18 11:04 PM
03/22/18 11:04 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,348
Hamamatsu, Japan
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Hello MallocArray, welcome to the forum.

I honestly believe the CN27, And CLP-625 are among the best of upper-entry level digital pianos available today. As such, I don’t think you can go far wrong with either model.

I believe most, if not all, Kawai and Yamaha dealers will also sell acoustic grand and upright pianos from the two companies, which should allow you to compare the sound and keyboard actions to their digitally counterparts.

Regarding the size limitation, 53.5 inches isn’t quite narrow, however alongside the CN27, I would also suggest that you consider the CA48, announce date late last year. This is essentially the CN27 with a superior and a much more realistic wooden key keyboard action. More information about the CA48 can be found on the product page of the Kawai Global website here:

http://www.kawai-global.com/product/ca48/

I hope this help - best of luck it has your search!

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
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Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2723861
03/23/18 09:36 PM
03/23/18 09:36 PM
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MallocArray Offline OP
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Thank you everyone.

I appreciate the confirmation that I don't need to worry about strictly following the recommendation. I know it, but hearing it come back to me is helpful.

The 53.5 inch restriction is pretty set in stone, literally. We want to locate the new piano between a wall and a stone fireplace hearth to reclaim part of the room where the current piano is at, and I already will have to chisel off a small protrusion of the natural stone and remove the trim around the floor to get the full clearance. So going for anything larger means changing our plan for the entire room.

We did notice that the Clavinova line was not available on Amazon, etc but did see the Arius. When I asked the local Yamaha dealer about it, he said that Arius is always based on old technology, usually 10+ years and they don't even carry the line because they don't like them. I have a feeling that is a little overdramatic, it does give us pause on considering.

The CA48 doesn't appear to have MSRP readily available on the site, so not sure exactly where it fit price wise, but the size is listed as 53.5 so it would be a very tight squeeze.

In the store, the CN27 sounded like a digital piano, while the CLP-625 with the HPE-170 headphones they had with it sounded very enveloping. I think the headphones at the Kawai store were poor, but can't tell for sure as I don't have the same ones between the stores, and they are 45 minutes apart.

The store selling the Kawai priced the CN27 $250 less, and included headphones, and that location offers unlimited classes for adults, although they are moving in the next year and not certain if they would still be in a convenient areas.

We are leaning toward the Yamaha right now, and if we could get the price closer to the Kawai, I think we would go for it, even though we will still have to buy quality headphones.

Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2723870
03/23/18 10:41 PM
03/23/18 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MallocArray
When I asked the local Yamaha dealer about it, he said that Arius is always based on old technology, usually 10+ years and they don't even carry the line because they don't like them.


This is the kind of statement that destroys the dealer's credibility. Compare the specs of the Arius YDP-184 and the Clavinova CLP-625 on Yamaha's website and you will see what I mean. Unfortunately, the YDP-184 won't work for you because it is 57.5" wide. Best wishes for your search!

Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2724071
03/24/18 08:30 PM
03/24/18 08:30 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 68
Charleston SC
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Hello there,

I am in similar boat as you. I am looking to buy a clavinova 545 and also had kawai in mind but i have not been able to play any.


Not sure if you are interested in the clavinova 500 line. Ebay has some great deals a 525 for 1500$ and 535 for 1800$. These are buy it now or best offer which means you might be able to negotiate some more.

May the force be with you.

Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2724395
03/26/18 08:16 AM
03/26/18 08:16 AM
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MallocArray Offline OP
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We are looking at the Arius YDP-163 model now. It is their lower line, but higher end of that line. I know it has a previous sampling, but other than that, I can't tell much difference in the feature set, and is $800 cheaper than the CLP-625 we are looking at and should still fit. Trying to find out if any local stores have floor models we can play.

Still waiting to attend the Costco event in a few days.

Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2724581
03/27/18 02:19 AM
03/27/18 02:19 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,348
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Online content
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Originally Posted by MallocArray
We are looking at the Arius YDP-163 model now. It is their lower line, but higher end of that line. I know it has a previous sampling, but other than that, I can't tell much difference in the feature set, and is $800 cheaper than the CLP-625 we are looking at and should still fit. Trying to find out if any local stores have floor models we can play.


I believe Yamaha's YDP models are typically sold through the larger chain stores and online retailers, rather than Yamaha piano dealers.

Incidentally, if you are considering the YDP-163, I would recommend you also try to play-test the similarly priced Kawai KDP110 and Roland RP102.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2724640
03/27/18 09:26 AM
03/27/18 09:26 AM
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Richmond, BC, Canada
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Quote
. . . but it must be under 53.5 inches to fit where we want. . . .


FWIW --

There is another way to skin this cat:

. . . Get a "slab piano", instead of a console piano.

I checked the specs on the Roland FP-90 (which may be outside your price range), and it'll fit in your niche. As I remember, the speakers fire upward, so there's no problem with wall-to-piano spacing. The amps are 25 watts per channel, which is greater than the Kawai CN27. (The FP-90 has more power, and better speakers, than most slab DP's; I don't know the specs of current offerings from other makers).

I think the FP-90's width is typical for "slab" DP's. The Casio PX-350 is 52" wide. The Kawai ES110 is 51.67 ("51-2/3 inches"), and unfortunately the ES8 is 54" (according to Sweetwater).

You'd need some kind of stand. I'd be wary of an X-stand, but there are universal-fit "table stands" available. Or you could investigate Roland's own wooden stand (slightly narrower than the FP-90 body).

I know that people are often unwilling to take the "slab piano" route. But it might give you some additional choices.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2724729
03/27/18 07:09 PM
03/27/18 07:09 PM
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Excellent advice from Kawai James and Charles Cohen, as usual!

Kawai James, I know that you are not focused on the US market but, since you are at Kawai headquarters, could you persuade someone to look into Kawai's US distribution strategy for its lower-end pianos such as the ES110 and KDP110. I live in a nice suburb of a larger American city (top 20) and have two dealers carrying many Casio and Yamaha and some Roland products within four miles of home and another two a little further away. The one Kawai dealer in the city carries only higher-end digitals, being primarily a grand piano dealer. It seems silly to create great lower-end products and then not have the distribution to match.

Charles Cohen, I agree completely with your slab piano comment. In my recent search for the right instrument, I was stunned to find that slabs usually had better specs than consoles priced much higher. And nowadays you can get slabs with matching stands and pedal bars, albeit without sliding key covers. I guess there is a market for lower-end consoles, but I could not quite see the value when comparing Yamaha's slab P-115 or DGX-660 to its console YDP-103 or 143. And I find that my DGX-660 looks perfectly fine in its sleek modern way in my study, rather than trying to look like the acoustic piano it is not.

MallocArray, the Yamaha YDP-163 has a better (GH3) action compared to the lower-end YDPs mentioned above. But you should also try the Casio, Kawai and Roland alternatives, if possible. Yes, I bought a Yamaha, but the other three major manufacturers have excellent products that may be a better fit for you.

Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: Lotus1] #2724752
03/27/18 10:01 PM
03/27/18 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Lotus1
Kawai James, I know that you are not focused on the US market but, since you are at Kawai headquarters, could you persuade someone to look into Kawai's US distribution strategy for its lower-end pianos such as the ES110 and KDP110.


Yes, this! I live in a state capitol metro area, and can't find a Kawai digital anywhere, not to mention the ES110 and KDP110 models. Casios, Yamahas and Rolands can be found in a few places, but the leading music store in the area (which carries Kawai acoustics) only stocks a Roland F-30 at the lower end because (they said) it costs less than the ES110, and people tend to choose it because of that. (But if it's the only reasonable thing in the store....) They are willing to special order a Kawai digital, though.

I wonder how many more people in the area would have Kawai digitals if they were actually able to try them out? Even though an ES110 is on the lower end of the spectrum, it may only be the brave few who are willing to buy without trying. I personally would love to give one a whirl, but don't know how unless it's on my next trip to a very (very) large city, which could be many months away.


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Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: Lotus1] #2724777
03/28/18 01:47 AM
03/28/18 01:47 AM
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Posts: 14,348
Hamamatsu, Japan
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Lotus1, delune, thank you for your comments.

I'm reluctant to take this thread too far off-topic, however I will try to pass your feedback along to my colleagues.

I should point out that the lower-cost Kawai DPs are usually sold online by the larger musical instrument chains, where pricing is extremely competitive. I expect the acoustic piano dealers may be concerned that customers will visit their store to play-test their stock, only to purchase an instrument like the ES110 for $50 less online. In which case, I can understand their desire to concentrate on selling the higher range models.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Kawai CN27 vs Yamaha CLP-625 and Costco [Re: MallocArray] #2727419
04/08/18 07:58 AM
04/08/18 07:58 AM
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MallocArray Offline OP
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A few days ago I went back to the store that sells Kawai and tried the CN27 again. As much as I want to like it, the sound of the speakers just didn't do it for me and with the store headphones and simple earbuds of my own, it just sounded artificial.

At the Costco event, they only had a CLP-635 and even over the din of the crowd, it sounded great over the speakers and when I had tried it previously with $150 Yamaha headphones it blew me away. Although the action may be firmer than the Kawai, it felt sturdy and "premium" if that is a thing.

While they didn't have the CLP-625 we were looking at on display, the price they quoted was $1699 at Costco vs $1995 at the Yamaha dealer's store, and the same company was doing the Costco event. But they wouldn't waive the delivery fee in trade for my old piano, so delivery would be $250.

While I said earlier the size constraint was fixed, both of us felt that the CLP-635 seemed to be the way to go to get all of the features could see our selves using (USB to Device for recording, AUX in/out, and more than one recording in the piano itself) and a bit more audio power than the 625. We have two other locations we could put it that are not our preferred spot but could work once we get the acoustic out.

The CLP-635 at Costco was $2199, so just a small upgrade over our original Yamaha dealer quote, and we can work it out with a friend to pick it up with a van, we just have to make arrangements to sell the acoustic, but hopefully Craigslist will come through.


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