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Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic #2848221
05/14/19 10:42 PM
05/14/19 10:42 PM
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John305 Online content OP
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I currently have a Shigeru Kawai SK-7 and an old Technics digital piano. I want to upgrade the dp to something with an action that approximates an acoustic, and preferably an acoustic grand piano because the Technics’ action is way too light and is starting to bug me. I know I could probably find this kind of info by wading through this forum but I thought I’d ask the dp cognoscenti first. Although a nice high end dp like the Kawai NV10 or an Avantgrand would be great, they’re a bit out of the budget. I don’t want a slab, it needs to look like an upright. My main priority is a really good action preferably under $3500-$4000, could possibly stretch the budget if something really catches my fancy. Thank you in advance for any input.


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Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848225
05/14/19 11:00 PM
05/14/19 11:00 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Online content
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Hello John,

A true hybrid such as the NV10 or Avantgrand will offer the closest comparison to your SK-7, however if these instruments are beyond your budget, a higher-end DP is probably the next best thing.

Sticking with Kawai, the 'Concert Artist' series of instruments (CA48/CA58/CA78/CA98) utilise fully wooden keys, and reproduce the mechanism of a grand piano action most closely. There is also the CS Series (CS8/CS11) that offers the same wooden-key action technology in ebony polish cabinets - a real upright piano cabinet in the case of the CS11.

Looking at other manufacturers, the Yamaha Clavinova and Roland HP/LX instruments are also highly regarded, with the more expensive models utilising a combination of plastic+wood keys.

My recommendation would be to visit a selection of piano dealers in your area to get a feel for the various makes and models available.

Best of luck with your search!

Kind regards,
James
x


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

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848226
05/14/19 11:05 PM
05/14/19 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by John305
I currently have a Shigeru Kawai SK-7 and an old Technics digital piano. I want to upgrade the dp to something with an action that approximates an acoustic, and preferably an acoustic grand piano because the Technics’ action is way too light and is starting to bug me. I know I could probably find this kind of info by wading through this forum but I thought I’d ask the dp cognoscenti first. Although a nice high end dp like the Kawai NV10 or an Avantgrand would be great, they’re a bit out of the budget. I don’t want a slab, it needs to look like an upright. My main priority is a really good action preferably under $3500-$4000, could possibly stretch the budget if something really catches my fancy. Thank you in advance for any input.

If you are looking for an upright form factor and are OK with an upright keyboard action (vs. grand keyboard action), you couldn't go too far wrong with the Yamaha Avantgrand NU1X, which should be in your price range. I tried one out today and it felt realistic enough. Don't expect grand-like key repetition, and you should be good. (In fact, on NU1X, very fast key repetition failure takes a different form)


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Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848238
05/14/19 11:56 PM
05/14/19 11:56 PM
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I highly recommend the Kawai CA98 for your purpose. It is a little beyond your budget, but not by much if you get the typical discount from the regular price posted in a store or online. I came close to buying one recently, and it was only a chance encounter with an acoustic grand that made me change direction. Which eventually led to the purchase of a Kawai grand, one more lower-end than your SK-7!

The CA98's Grand Feel II (GF2) action feels much closer to an acoustic grand than that of the Yamaha NU1X, which has significantly shorter keys and a shallow dip that I found unacceptable. I found GF2 to be light and smooth, and a joy to play. The CA98 soundboard creates a realistic tone, particularly in the bass register, that more closely simulates an acoustic grand's tone than the typical boomy bass of digital piano speakers enclosed in a cabinet.

If you plan to use headphones (I never do), the CA78 is a less expensive alternative with the same GF2 action, but with no soundboard and lower quality speakers. Well within your budget.

I tried the CA98's direct competitor, the Yamaha CLP-685, but did not like its GrandTouch action as much as that on the Kawai. Some prefer the NWX action on less-expensive CLP models to GrandTouch, but I didn't.

Did not get to try Roland's newest top-end action, and the PHA-50 action used on many of its higher priced pianos is not quite as good as Kawai's GF2, in my opinion. Good luck with your search!

Last edited by Lotus1; 05/15/19 12:03 AM.
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848271
05/15/19 01:37 AM
05/15/19 01:37 AM
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Kawai James' advice to try out a range of higher-end digitals from Kawai, Roland and Yamaha is wise. It is better to trust your own judgment than that of any online reviewer, including me in the previous post, especially since you already have an acoustic grand.

From Kawai, that would be the CA48/CA58, with the Grand Feel Compact action, and the CA78/98 with the Grand Feel II action.

From Yamaha, that would be the CLP-645 with the NWX action, and the CLP-675/CLP-685 with the GrandTouch action.

I am not as familiar with Roland's higher-end models, but try one of their older ones with the PHA-50 action and a newer one with the "Hybrid Grand" action. The latter is within quotes as it is not a hybrid like the Kawai Novus or Yamaha AvantGrand pianos.

Please keep in mind that no digital piano will feel like an acoustic grand, not in its touch control, dynamic range, or complexity of live sound. You will be looking for something close enough to be acceptable. Good luck!

Last edited by Lotus1; 05/15/19 01:38 AM.
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848284
05/15/19 03:27 AM
05/15/19 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by John305
I currently have a Shigeru Kawai SK-7 and an old Technics digital piano. I want to upgrade the dp to something with an action that approximates an acoustic, and preferably an acoustic grand piano because the Technics’ action is way too light and is starting to bug me. I know I could probably find this kind of info by wading through this forum but I thought I’d ask the dp cognoscenti first. Although a nice high end dp like the Kawai NV10 or an Avantgrand would be great, they’re a bit out of the budget. I don’t want a slab, it needs to look like an upright. My main priority is a really good action preferably under $3500-$4000, could possibly stretch the budget if something really catches my fancy. Thank you in advance for any input.


Hi John,

Here are the main options summarized:

Grade below Avant Grand (2nd tier):
Casio GP500
Roland V piano Grand
Roland LX17
Roland LX708
Kawai CS11
Yamaha CLP685
Yamaha NUX1

Third tier
Casio GP300
Roland LX706
Roland LX7
Kawai CA98/CA78
Yamaha CLP 675

The action of all these digital pianos in the 2nd and 3rd tier are not close to an acoustic grand piano, they are much closer than 10-15 years ago and are enjoyable enough to play.
In many ways, you might find it difficult to notice differences between the digital actions until you acclimatize i.e., play them for a good while. However, the Kawai's have nice actions, as do the Roland's. The Yamaha actions are nice too, but a tad heavier. Not personally played the Casio pianos listed, some people like them a lot.

The third tier options don't have the same quality sound amplification as do the 2nd tier. Bare in mind that going used is a good option because digital pianos depreciate worse than cars.
Apart from Avant Grands, don't buy used over 5 years old (the tech isn't comparable after that).

Your other option is maybe a used Avant Grand N1 if you can find one.

Kind regards,

Doug

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/15/19 03:28 AM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Doug M.] #2848288
05/15/19 03:46 AM
05/15/19 03:46 AM
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Doug,

I guess there was a mix up of the Kawai models with respect to 2nd and 3rd tier.
I was surprised to see CA98 in the 2nd tier --CA98 seems to have everything important CS 11 has -- except for polished finish -- but has Pianist mode and improvement in headphone amplification in extra see comparison

Kawai CA98 and CS11 could go to 2nd tier -- actually CA98 could be preferred as the newer model with more features.
CA78 and CS8 could go to the 3rd tier. The same goes here about CA78 could be preferred.


Kawai KDP-90
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848296
05/15/19 04:48 AM
05/15/19 04:48 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 15,130
Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Online content
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Jasper, I'm inclined to agree with you, I don't understand Doug's tier classification either.

Kind regards,
James
x


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: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Kawai James] #2848299
05/15/19 04:57 AM
05/15/19 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Jasper, I'm inclined to agree with you, I don't understand Doug's tier classification either.

Kind regards,
James
x


Hi Jasper, James,

I prefer the sound that comes out of the CS11 --- nothing to do with the specs, more the cabinet probably.

Kind regards,

Doug.


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Doug M.] #2848311
05/15/19 05:52 AM
05/15/19 05:52 AM
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I don't understand this ...
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Grade below Avant Grand (2nd tier):
- Casio GP500
- Roland V Grand, LX17, LX708
- Kawai CS11
- Yamaha CLP685, NUX1

Third tier
- Casio GP300
- Roland LX706, LX7
- Kawai CA98, CA78
- Yamaha CLP675
I cannot speak for the Rolands or Casios, but I would put all of those pianos in the same tier.
- Kawai CS11, CA98/CA78
- Yamaha CLP685, CLP675, NUX1

They're not all the same ... but placing those into two different tiers would mean that the entire market of digitals would require perhaps a dozen (or two dozen?) tiers. That's not useful at all.

Just because two pianos differ slightly doesn't place them in different tiers.

Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Doug M.] #2848332
05/15/19 06:02 AM
05/15/19 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug M.


The action of all these digital pianos in the 2nd and 3rd tier are not close to an acoustic grand piano, they are much closer than 10-15 years ago and are enjoyable enough to play.
In many ways, you might find it difficult to notice differences between the digital actions until you acclimatize i.e., play them for a good while. However, the Kawai's have nice actions, as do the Roland's. The Yamaha actions are nice too, but a tad heavier. Not personally played the Casio pianos listed, some people like them a lot.


An important part of learning to play the piano is the ability to play on different pianos with different actions. And the idea that there is one acoustic grand piano action is just not true. If the OP wants a digital closer to his acoustic then he needs to try them out.

Last edited by Colin Miles; 05/15/19 06:04 AM. Reason: additional comment

Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Colin Miles] #2848359
05/15/19 06:14 AM
05/15/19 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by Doug M.


The action of all these digital pianos in the 2nd and 3rd tier are not close to an acoustic grand piano, they are much closer than 10-15 years ago and are enjoyable enough to play.
In many ways, you might find it difficult to notice differences between the digital actions until you acclimatize i.e., play them for a good while. However, the Kawai's have nice actions, as do the Roland's. The Yamaha actions are nice too, but a tad heavier. Not personally played the Casio pianos listed, some people like them a lot.


An important part of learning to play the piano is the ability to play on different pianos with different actions. And the idea that there is one acoustic grand piano action is just not true. If the OP wants a digital closer to his acoustic then he needs to try them out.


Yep; however, do you not agree that in general: all acoustic actions (although internally varying) share physical playing characteristics that make them substantially different to digital piano actions (that also internally vary)?


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: MacMacMac] #2848373
05/15/19 06:20 AM
05/15/19 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I don't understand this ...
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Grade below Avant Grand (2nd tier):
- Casio GP500
- Roland V Grand, LX17, LX708
- Kawai CS11
- Yamaha CLP685, NUX1

Third tier
- Casio GP300
- Roland LX706, LX7
- Kawai CA98, CA78
- Yamaha CLP675
I cannot speak for the Rolands or Casios, but I would put all of those pianos in the same tier.
- Kawai CS11, CA98/CA78
- Yamaha CLP685, CLP675, NUX1

They're not all the same ... but placing those into two different tiers would mean that the entire market of digitals would require perhaps a dozen (or two dozen?) tiers. That's not useful at all.

Just because two pianos differ slightly doesn't place them in different tiers.


Hi Mac,

My reasoning---not intending to open cans of worms---was to place the higher priced digitals in the same tier i.e., so that the CS11 matches the top range Roland rather than the LX7 or LX706 etc.
Most functionality and action characteristics cross between my tiers; however, on the whole, amplification systems are different---perhaps the main differentiator.

Kind regards,

Doug.


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Doug M.] #2848387
05/15/19 06:50 AM
05/15/19 06:50 AM
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Colin Miles Offline
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Originally Posted by Doug M.


Yep; however, do you not agree that in general: all acoustic actions (although internally varying) share physical playing characteristics that make them substantially different to digital piano actions (that also internally vary)?

From a playing point of view, not really. But having played so many pianos for so many years and being so old, perhaps I don't notice the differences.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Colin Miles] #2848389
05/15/19 07:16 AM
05/15/19 07:16 AM
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Doug M. Offline
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by Doug M.


Yep; however, do you not agree that in general: all acoustic actions (although internally varying) share physical playing characteristics that make them substantially different to digital piano actions (that also internally vary)?

From a playing point of view, not really. But having played so many pianos for so many years and being so old, perhaps I don't notice the differences.


Should do a scientific test (blind folded)!
Read somewhere that people often mistake red for white wine when blindfolded lol.

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/15/19 07:16 AM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Doug M.] #2848396
05/15/19 07:59 AM
05/15/19 07:59 AM
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Colin Miles Offline
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Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by Doug M.


Yep; however, do you not agree that in general: all acoustic actions (although internally varying) share physical playing characteristics that make them substantially different to digital piano actions (that also internally vary)?

From a playing point of view, not really. But having played so many pianos for so many years and being so old, perhaps I don't notice the differences.


Should do a scientific test (blind folded)!
Read somewhere that people often mistake red for white wine when blindfolded lol.

Doug - way back in the early fifties when I was competing in the festivals and eistedfford at places like Bath, Bristol, Oxford, Swindon and Cheltenham, part of the competition was testing your ability to play on a different piano. Some teachers used to try and cheat by sneaking their pupils on to the stage, but that was much frowned on. Think about it, the sheer logistics of having 20 or 30 kids practicising for even 5 mins before the actual competition...

In my teens during term time I would be playing a light action Steinway grand in the morning most days, my own Rogers upright and various other pianos, not to mention trying out all the organs in the town and vicinity. I wouldn't say I was 'immune' to the differences in action, but I can certainly adjust such that I quickly forget about any difference.

And as I think Ed has mentioned, perception of action is also influenced by a lot of other factors beyond weight, etc.

As I said, the OP needs to try digitals and get the one he is happiest with. That might not even be like his acoustic.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Colin Miles] #2848400
05/15/19 08:30 AM
05/15/19 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Originally Posted by Doug M.


Yep; however, do you not agree that in general: all acoustic actions (although internally varying) share physical playing characteristics that make them substantially different to digital piano actions (that also internally vary)?

From a playing point of view, not really. But having played so many pianos for so many years and being so old, perhaps I don't notice the differences.


Should do a scientific test (blind folded)!
Read somewhere that people often mistake red for white wine when blindfolded lol.

Doug - way back in the early fifties when I was competing in the festivals and eistedfford at places like Bath, Bristol, Oxford, Swindon and Cheltenham, part of the competition was testing your ability to play on a different piano. Some teachers used to try and cheat by sneaking their pupils on to the stage, but that was much frowned on. Think about it, the sheer logistics of having 20 or 30 kids practicising for even 5 mins before the actual competition...

In my teens during term time I would be playing a light action Steinway grand in the morning most days, my own Rogers upright and various other pianos, not to mention trying out all the organs in the town and vicinity. I wouldn't say I was 'immune' to the differences in action, but I can certainly adjust such that I quickly forget about any difference.

And as I think Ed has mentioned, perception of action is also influenced by a lot of other factors beyond weight, etc.

As I said, the OP needs to try digitals and get the one he is happiest with. That might not even be like his acoustic.


Hi Colin,

Yes, quite so, weight of action probably accounts for immediate response to a new action (wow, this is heavy / light) but in terms of acoustic pianos vs digital, weight's not why it feels different. Quite often, people ask about action (desiring an opinion prior to testing) and then they come back and say "I actually preferred model X over the one's you mentioned", as they have their own past experience biasing the choice like it should.

Thanks for your story, you've played in some of my favourite English towns! I

also find action differences between digitals less important than some because I grew up playing organs and transitioned to piano. I find that moving to a heavier piano action takes some time to adjust to physically but not much the other way around.
Doesn't surprise me that teachers tried to get their students to practice prior to competition on the competition piano---any advantage is probably worth it if you don't get caught lol. I remember waiting to perform in my high-school young musician competition. I was one of the last on, so I played for about 2 hours on a cheap keyboard in a private practice room prior to my time-slot---partly to give me something to do to avoid nerves, partly out of paranoia of not missing some of the quite tight transitions that I only made 8 out of 10 times when starting fresh into practice.

Kind regards,

Doug


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848416
05/15/19 09:49 AM
05/15/19 09:49 AM
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Hi Doug - just to add a bit. Ten or twenty years ago I can understand the concern over digital piano actions. I bought a Roland HP703 in 2002 on the basis of the sound and that got me back into playing. But it didn't have a 'real piano' action such that you couldn't even play moderately fast pieces satisfactory, though I put it down to old age. Then two years ago decided to upgrade and wow, the difference in the actions such that I really do think that people should stop worrying about the differences and just concentrate on playing. Even the 'lowliest' digitals which have weighted actions are more than adequate for most people.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: Colin Miles] #2848439
05/15/19 11:16 AM
05/15/19 11:16 AM
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John305 Online content OP
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Hi Doug - just to add a bit. Ten or twenty years ago I can understand the concern over digital piano actions. I bought a Roland HP703 in 2002 on the basis of the sound and that got me back into playing. But it didn't have a 'real piano' action such that you couldn't even play moderately fast pieces satisfactory, though I put it down to old age. Then two years ago decided to upgrade and wow, the difference in the actions such that I really do think that people should stop worrying about the differences and just concentrate on playing. Even the 'lowliest' digitals which have weighted actions are more than adequate for most people.



Colin, funny you should mention 20 years ago, as that’s approximately how old my digital piano is. If I go from my acoustic to the dp on the same day, the dp doesn’t feel weighted at all. If I play on the dp for a couple of days and return to the acoustic it has the same feeling as trying to run in mud or molasses and I get plenty of ghost notes. So obviously based on the vintage of my dp I need something much more realistic feeling in the action. So Colin, you’ve hit on exactly what I’m experiencing.

I’m not too concerned about features, although they would be nice to have, I’m looking for something to give me a realistic workout when I practice with headphones so as not to disturb the rest of the family. And I agree with what has been said so far about having to try for myself, I was just looking for some ideas on what I should be considering based on my needs to possibly save some time.

Thank you for the responses thus far, if anybody has any further input I would love to hear it.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Need help picking a DP to complement my acoustic [Re: John305] #2848447
05/15/19 11:27 AM
05/15/19 11:27 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 733
South Wales
C
Colin Miles Offline
500 Post Club Member
Colin Miles  Offline
500 Post Club Member
C

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 733
South Wales
John305 - you just need to go into the shops and play as many digitals as you can, bearing in mind your budget. And take your time over it. First impressions aren't always accurate.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK

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