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P515 vs ES8 #2835308 04/04/19 01:28 PM
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Morten Olsson Offline OP
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In my quest for a suitable replacement for my acoustic my current favorites are now the Yamaha P515 and the Kawai ES8. For some reason I prefer the touch of the ES8 to the next tier of Kawai models after a rather exhaustive test play today. Also I have had a listen to some low / mid tier studio monitors and I much prefer the sound of this setup to the sound of consoles even if it’s a bit messy. I also quite like the idea of being able to change individual components in my setup.

I had planned on a VST centric setup but after spending some time with the ES8 I kind of want that sound and feel as well as the VSTs and I don’t see why I shouldn’t have both smile

In comparison the P515 feels more solid and I’m sure I could get used to it but the lighter more bouncy touch of the ES8 seemed more alive and playable to my beginners hands.

In thing I really really love about the P515 is the built in audio interface. I brought my MacBook Pro with Ravenscroft with me and the setup was really simple and nice. The ES8 version of this setup would have more wires and potential for ground loop issues, noise etc ?

I had a hard time getting midi velocities above 100 out of the P515 regardless of the touch setting selected - I noticed that the Ravenscroft sounded a bit muted and verified this using midi monitor. The ES8 went a bit higher - around 110 or so and seemed more responsive with midi.

I see the ES8 has been out for quite a few years now - are we due and upgrade any time soon would you think ? An update with built in audio interface would seal the deal for sure.

As of now I’m quite unsure - my heart and gut point me to the ES8 while my brain tells me that the 515 is newer tech, more elegant with the audio interface etc.

I would live to try a VPC1 but unfortunately none is available close to me.

Thoughts are welcome smile

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Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835319 04/04/19 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
In thing I really really love about the P515 is the built in audio interface. I brought my MacBook Pro with Ravenscroft with me and the setup was really simple and nice. The ES8 version of this setup would have more wires and potential for ground loop issues, noise etc ?

The ES8 equivalent would be a Steinberg UR22 interface (which uses the same ASIO driver as the Yamaha digital), connected through two MIDI wires and up to four audio wires to the ES8 (depending on if you want to record it or listen through it), while being connected via one USB to the computer. To avoid ground-loop issues, avoid connecting the computer to the USB of the ES8.

Beside the UR22 you need the following cables (all six connections are already built into the P-515 USB audio interface and work out of the box).

1. DIN 5-pin ES8 MIDI OUT to UR22 MIDI IN (mandatory)
2. DIN 5-pin ES8 MIDI IN to UR22 MIDI OUT (optional, for playing back MIDI to the ES8)

3. 3.5mm TRS ES8 STEREO LINE IN to UR22 6.35mm TS LINE OUT 1/L (optional, for listening through the ES8)
(Y-cable required)
4. 3.5mm TRS ES8 STEREO LINE IN to UR22 6.35mm TS LINE OUT 2/R (optional, for listening through the ES8)

5. 6.35mm TS ES8 LINE OUT L/MONO to UR22 6.35mm TS LINE IN 1 (optional, for recording the ES8)
6. 6.35mm TS ES8 LINE OUT R to UR22 6.35mm TS LINE IN 2 (optional, for recording the ES8 in stereo)

Only the MIDI connection is really mandatory, which allows you to listen through the headphones port of the UR22. All other connections depend on what you want to do with your DAW setup.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835328 04/04/19 02:14 PM
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Morten Olsson Offline OP
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The thought of all those wires makes my skin crawl - not in a pleasant tingly way mind.

Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835330 04/04/19 02:16 PM
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Oh and thank you very much for the kind a supremely detailed reply - much appreciated.

Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835334 04/04/19 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
The thought of all those wires makes my skin crawl - not in a pleasant tingly way mind.

It should be a pretty high quality low noise setup though. If you choose to record from AND listen through the ES8, you might have to look into disabling audio loopback through both the UR22 (mix dial fully to the right) and the ES8 (if that's possible) to avoid feedback.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835335 04/04/19 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
The thought of all those wires makes my skin crawl - not in a pleasant tingly way mind.

Of course #3 and #4 are actually a single cable (with two plugs on each side), as are #5 and #6. So you wouldn't have 6 cables, but only 4.

And to play a VST, you don't need #3. So you would be down to 3 cables (or you could first try with USB to see if you have a ground loop at all, if not, you can replace #1 and #2 with a single USB cable too, so again you would be down to 3 cables).

And the #3/#4 cables (or rather single cable) is only needed if you want to hear the VST sound via the piano speakers. Since you already said that you prefer external speakers, you wouldn't need that anyway.

So, 2 cables instead of 6. Sounds a bit better, doesn't it? wink

Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835338 04/04/19 02:36 PM
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@JoBert I just described the setup needed to completely replicate the P-515 USB-to-host interface and what you can with it. Of course, every part of it is optional.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835348 04/04/19 02:54 PM
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just got the 515 based on the various threads and reviews I read here. I was not able to demo any of the three I was looking at ( es8 p90) none were in stores my area, so I followed the advice on one of the threads. Any of them are fine instruments I'd be glad to have so why not go with the newer least expensive of the three if it has the features you want. As a 3mo beginner coming from a cheap $100 plastic keyboard I figured I wouldn't be able to discern a difference in feel and grow to like whatever I got. I can tell you I am impressed by the 515. I have to get the adapter to connect my ipad so I haven't changed a single setting. My understanding is with the ap you can change almost anything down to the tuning of each note. (I could be mistaking but I doubt I would ever do this anyway as I don't have a very musical ear) out of the box it's a beautiful instrument. The synthetic textured keys are one of the things I liked about the 515 and they did not disappoint. The action is so different from the entry level keyboard I can't even comment other than to say my hands and forearms are WORN out after about 30mins of blues style practice. You can change the note sensitivity between 5 levels, but I believe this just changes the loudness based on speed velocity, it does not change the resistance level which I thought it would, so I will just have to suffer through this phase and build up my hand strength. Each model had a feature I liked and wanted that others didn't. numbers of tracks to record but no mic in on the 515. The smart pianist ap has some very cool features but can not connect via bluetooth (bluetooth is only one way for playing music through the instrument). You can get a wireless adapter for $90 or a $30 usb camera cable to connect iOS devices.

If you really liked the feel and could tell the difference I think that would be a major influence. You can't go wrong with the 515 at the price point (purchased from kraft for 1499 and got the 100 GC to use towards the stand. I got the matching black stand and the 3 pedal system. all in for 1650 usd. no tax or shipping from kraft fyi. The sustain and sosteneto pedals are excellent and you can set the activation points where ever you want and they are full range, not just on off. very realistic. My only comparison is an old piano we had at home when I was a kid and I never played, I just messed around a bit on it 40 years ago. My only other comparison is I have a martin guitar I've played for 20 years that is top tier and I would say the feel of these keys is on par with a top class instrument. especially for the price jump to the next level of about 1k for a stage piano. All in all you can't go wrong in this category with any of these three pianos. hope that helps.

Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835357 04/04/19 03:09 PM
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Morten Olsson Offline OP
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I haven’t tried this but would having sound from both the built Ind speakers and the external monitors be preferable to only running the monitors ?
I know next to nothing about speakers and hi-if so I assure you this is a genuine question smile
My thinking is that Stiller’s having some amount of sound coming from the place where my hands are would be nice and seem more natural but I understand that this may in fact not be feasible with the ES8 and the UR22 due to the sound looping back on itself ?

Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Riasillo] #2835363 04/04/19 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Riasillo
just got the 515 based on the various threads and reviews I read here. I was not able to demo any of the three I was looking at ( es8 p90) none were in stores my area, so I followed the advice on one of the threads. Any of them are fine instruments I'd be glad to have so why not go with the newer least expensive of the three if it has the features you want. As a 3mo beginner coming from a cheap $100 plastic keyboard I figured I wouldn't be able to discern a difference in feel and grow to like whatever I got. I can tell you I am impressed by the 515. I have to get the adapter to connect my ipad so I haven't changed a single setting. My understanding is with the ap you can change almost anything down to the tuning of each note. (I could be mistaking but I doubt I would ever do this anyway as I don't have a very musical ear) out of the box it's a beautiful instrument. The synthetic textured keys are one of the things I liked about the 515 and they did not disappoint. The action is so different from the entry level keyboard I can't even comment other than to say my hands and forearms are WORN out after about 30mins of blues style practice. You can change the note sensitivity between 5 levels, but I believe this just changes the loudness based on speed velocity, it does not change the resistance level which I thought it would, so I will just have to suffer through this phase and build up my hand strength. Each model had a feature I liked and wanted that others didn't. numbers of tracks to record but no mic in on the 515. The smart pianist ap has some very cool features but can not connect via bluetooth (bluetooth is only one way for playing music through the instrument). You can get a wireless adapter for $90 or a $30 usb camera cable to connect iOS devices.

If you really liked the feel and could tell the difference I think that would be a major influence. You can't go wrong with the 515 at the price point (purchased from kraft for 1499 and got the 100 GC to use towards the stand. I got the matching black stand and the 3 pedal system. all in for 1650 usd. no tax or shipping from kraft fyi. The sustain and sosteneto pedals are excellent and you can set the activation points where ever you want and they are full range, not just on off. very realistic. My only comparison is an old piano we had at home when I was a kid and I never played, I just messed around a bit on it 40 years ago. My only other comparison is I have a martin guitar I've played for 20 years that is top tier and I would say the feel of these keys is on par with a top class instrument. especially for the price jump to the next level of about 1k for a stage piano. All in all you can't go wrong in this category with any of these three pianos. hope that helps.

Congrats and welcome to the forum!

Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835367 04/04/19 03:23 PM
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Morton Olsson: If you don't have to record the ES8 (audio) on your computer, you can connect the UR22 to STEREO LINE IN of the ES8 and connect the monitor speakers to LINE OUT of the ES8. Then you have the sound on all speakers without feedback loops.

The P-515 USB provides you with an additional audio in/out (it still has LINE ports which port independent from that), which adds more options to your setup. You could replicate that with a different USB audio interface / multi-channel mini mixer for the ES8 as well, but that's more advanced.

Just make sure, you connected your keyboard only through one USB wire to your computer to avoid ground loops.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835375 04/04/19 03:39 PM
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I used to do the entire audio interface thing with my ES8, but got tired of redoing all of the cables when taking it on gigs. Now I just connect it with a single USB cable. That lets me record midi performances to Digital Performer. When I want to record, I just put a thumb drive in the piano, and the audio goes straight to that as DP plays the piano. That cuts out two rounds of DA/AD and sounds really clean.

Last edited by ColoRodney; 04/04/19 03:40 PM. Reason: Bad grammar

Rodney Sauer
Kawai KG-2E • Kawai ES8
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835377 04/04/19 03:46 PM
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Morten Olsson Offline OP
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I think I follow you.
And I wouldn’t want to record on the pc.

Still a bit messy and somewhat less flexible than the P515 but hey - nothing is perfect.
In the end I might well end up rarely or never using VSTs and just relying on the built in sounds which I liked much more than I expected to. This could have the added benefit of less playing with shiny things and more playing of the damn thing smile

The AMP in the ES8 should be plenty powerful to drive powered monitors right ?
I have listened to various sizes and tiers of speakers ranging from Eris 5 which were ok to Focal 50 which were wonderful but also a bit more expensive than what I had in mind.

Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835928 04/05/19 11:07 PM
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Yes, you can run from the ES8 direct to powered speakers, assuming that they will accept a quarter inch cable. On the other hand, the built-in speakers are actually quite powerful, and I never run it through external speakers when practicing at home. In fact, I had a gig last week with a five piece chamber ensemble, and after testing the ES8 through an external amp, we ended up just using the internal speakers in a fairly large hall (an 1890s court room) with an audience of 100 people. Just with the onboard speakers, the ES8 was plenty loud enough, and sounded cleaner.


Rodney Sauer
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Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Riasillo] #2835955 04/06/19 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Riasillo
You can get a wireless adapter for $90 or a $30 usb camera cable to connect iOS devices.


Just to note that it's not necessary to spend that much money on the official Apple iPad camera adapter. I bought a much cheaper third party one from Amazon and it works absolutely fine:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lightning-Camera-Adapter-Female-compatible-White/dp/B07CFX7G5

All you need is this and a USB A to B printer cable.


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Cheshire Chris] #2835958 04/06/19 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Originally Posted by Riasillo
You can get a wireless adapter for $90 or a $30 usb camera cable to connect iOS devices.


Just to note that it's not necessary to spend that much money on the official Apple iPad camera adapter. I bought a much cheaper third party one from Amazon and it works absolutely fine:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lightning-Camera-Adapter-Female-compatible-White/dp/B07CFX7G5

All you need is this and a USB A to B printer cable.


The link is broken.


Yamaha U1 Silent Piano
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835959 04/06/19 02:57 AM
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Strange, I copied and pasted it directly from Amazon. Let's try again:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lightning-...&psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_dt_b_pd_title

Is it working now?



Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Cheshire Chris] #2835963 04/06/19 03:27 AM
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LarryK Online Content
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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Strange, I copied and pasted it directly from Amazon. Let's try again:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lightning-...&psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_dt_b_pd_title

Is it working now?



Yes, that’s works, thanks. It’s in the UK store and I’m in the US. I paid out the big bucks for the Apple accessory.


Yamaha U1 Silent Piano
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: Morten Olsson] #2835980 04/06/19 05:14 AM
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Certainly the safer option to buy the official Apple part. I took a chance based in the reviews and fortunately it paid off. That's £20 saved that I can spend on something else smile.


Chris

Yamaha P-515, Yamaha Reface CP.
Re: P515 vs ES8 [Re: ColoRodney] #2836000 04/06/19 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ColoRodney
Yes, you can run from the ES8 direct to powered speakers, assuming that they will accept a quarter inch cable. On the other hand, the built-in speakers are actually quite powerful, and I never run it through external speakers when practicing at home. In fact, I had a gig last week with a five piece chamber ensemble, and after testing the ES8 through an external amp, we ended up just using the internal speakers in a fairly large hall (an 1890s court room) with an audience of 100 people. Just with the onboard speakers, the ES8 was plenty loud enough, and sounded cleaner.


I agree- I have the ES8 alongside a Electovoice ZXA90 and often just don't put the Electrovoice on.

However, the mix of the ES8 speakers and the Electrovoice makes for a nice setup (ES8 internal in stereo of course, and just one Electrovoice in mono).

I kept my Fatar for years, in my opinion and ES8 is a great piano that would hold its own for several years even through 1 or 2 generations of potential Kawai upgrades. The first time I played it i was very impressed with the action even though I prefer Korg samples.


I also have the UR22, I would think one would need to MIDI to the UR22 - usb to the PC and then lineout to monitors or powered speakers.
At that point though, why not just consider a VPC1?


Kawai Es8
Korg Krome 61
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