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So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio #2862929
06/26/19 10:37 AM
06/26/19 10:37 AM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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Model K15 (Ebony or mahogany) or model 506N (studio)

I'm still planning on that trip to Ohio to play a bunch of pianos and one of the shops mentioned that for my budget ($3,500) if I stretched it "a little bit more" I could get a NEW Kawai K15 or 506N.

I'm really liking the idea of 0% for 24 months and a 10 year warranty vs buying used. I'd be inclined to go this route but I'm such a noob that I have no idea if these are two good pianos (assuming I like them when I play them.)

My use: I'll just be playing at home for my own enjoyment and my (hopefully) wife's also. I don't have room for even a baby grand and so I'm going to definitely get an upright. I just want something that plays well, will sound good and will hold up and stay tuned. I'm big on structural soundness. I work in aircraft design and manufacture and from what I've seen of Kawai's processes, they seem to take steps to go the "extra mile" in this regard (at least on their grands with the Millenium III action that is)

So...of these two, which is what you'd pick and why?

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Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2862936
06/26/19 10:57 AM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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I watched a video or two and I can say that I'm excited about the K-15. The video said "it's hard to touch this kind of quality for the price, which is about $5,000 or less brand new".

It has ADS action (supposedly a responsive action that has some composite parts in it for stability) and 4 back posts (which is supposedly also good for stability)

I DO like the 506N for it's casters and the front legs that it has, that seems like a good thing.

This dealer is Seta in Cincinnati. They seem pretty straight up about things.

C'mon piano shopping day!!! (july 5th)

Last edited by PianoWVBob; 06/26/19 11:01 AM.
Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2862939
06/26/19 11:00 AM
06/26/19 11:00 AM
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terminaldegree Offline
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At your budget, you should be able to find a solid 45-48" vertical piano from a reputable midrange brand that's less than 30 years old in decent shape. If you buy it cheaply enough in the first place, you'll be ahead of the depreciation curve if you decide to upgrade later and sell your used piano privately (not as a trade-in, though), so long as it's still serviceable. Of course, you're dealing with the piano as-is, or with a dealer-only warranty, which is as good as the dealer's willingness to honor it from a distance.

New entry-level pianos will also be an option at that budget, though these will be brands that are not so established in the market, or if they are, they will be less desirable (smallest) sizes and case finishes. These can be fine, but the willingness of the dealer to prepare (sort out) the pianos after uncrating, and at the first in-home service, goes a long way to being satisfied with these low-cost new pianos.

The Japanese-associated brands have garnered quite a reputation for build quality over the last two generations, and with that, name recognition among the buying public. Because of this, there are what are sometimes called "promotional" models, the cheapest vertical and grand model/size that they sell, which are less musically satisfying (or more inexpensively constructed) than the rest of the line. It satisfies the desire in the market for a low-cost way to own the "badge" of a respected brand. In your example, I have noticed a "step up" in quality and performance when playing and servicing a new UST-9 (just one rung higher) versus a new 506N. Of course, that comes at a price. Having said all this, I have occasionally run across an "outlier", where the combination of materials, assembly, dealer prep, or just good luck results in a better individual piano than I typically see from a given model.


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Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2862956
06/26/19 11:42 AM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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It also looks like a K200 is in my price range ($4,000 or so new)

Would that be a step up?

Edited to add: yes, it appears that it is. It's got the Millenium III action and it's a bit taller than the other two and I just talked to the owner, they have several in stock in various finishes.


Last edited by PianoWVBob; 06/26/19 11:50 AM.
Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2862975
06/26/19 12:35 PM
06/26/19 12:35 PM
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terminaldegree Offline
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I’m pretty sure the “guts” of the K-2/K200 are the same as a UST-9.


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Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: terminaldegree] #2862977
06/26/19 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
I’m pretty sure the “guts” of the K-2/K200 are the same as a UST-9.

Ohhh..nice. That's great to hear.

I'm about to pop with anticipation on going on this trip...it will be like Disneyland for me.

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2862988
06/26/19 01:16 PM
06/26/19 01:16 PM
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MarkL Offline
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Pianobuyer has this nice overview of Kawai models.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: MarkL] #2862991
06/26/19 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Pianobuyer has this nice overview of Kawai models.

Great, thanks!
I'll give that a read.

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2863061
06/26/19 04:31 PM
06/26/19 04:31 PM
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Lady Bird Offline
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Good news ! Generally it is better to buy a piano you have played (floor model )than one in the warehouse
as it already has had some prep work done and had
a few tunings since brand new pianos need more
tunings done before they settle down.Another most
important reason is to have tried the piano before
you buy it.

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: Lady Bird] #2863072
06/26/19 05:02 PM
06/26/19 05:02 PM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Good news ! Generally it is better to buy a piano you have played (floor model )than one in the warehouse
as it already has had some prep work done and had
a few tunings since brand new pianos need more
tunings done before they settle down.Another most
important reason is to have tried the piano before
you buy it.

Yep..that's the plan. I certainly hope I find something I like, at my stage of development, I'm sure I will. I won't get picky for several more years.

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2863497
06/28/19 05:43 AM
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Man...I'm really liking what I read on these Kawai's. I like the new action, the beefed up internal parts, the composite parts that are lighter and stronger than their wooden counterparts. I can't wait to play one.

From what I've seen on Youtube, they (even the K200) sound and play great.

I know that buying new carries with it depreciation, just like cars but there is also the 10 year warranty and the 0% for 24 months. I could get a taller piano with a guarantee (peace of mind) than I would trying to scrape $3,500 and taking what fits into the budget.

I'm comfortable doing that with guitars, they aren't such a large expenditure, and I'm familiar with their inner workings and build details, but to take a chance on a piano only to find out that I've gotten something that has some structural issue that nobody caught, or that it won't stay in tune or whatever...that's not something I want to deal with....it's worth taking the hit on the extra cost and the depreciation for me. (at this point, which is knowledge ground zero)

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2863541
06/28/19 09:29 AM
06/28/19 09:29 AM
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j&j Offline
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Originally Posted by PianoWVBob

I'm comfortable doing that with guitars, they aren't such a large expenditure, and I'm familiar with their inner workings and build details, but to take a chance on a piano only to find out that I've gotten something that has some structural issue that nobody caught, or that it won't stay in tune or whatever...that's not something I want to deal with....it's worth taking the hit on the extra cost and the depreciation for me. (at this point, which is knowledge ground zero)

Bob - I don’t want to sound discouraging on your new piano adventures but when you finance a new piano, you take depreciation on the total price before you make the payments which build your equity. With 0 percent interest your equity builds more quickly but still you are in debt.
Be very careful. Piano shopping can be a thrill. But don’t buy what you really can’t afford. Best of Luck!


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Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: j&j] #2863557
06/28/19 10:02 AM
06/28/19 10:02 AM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by PianoWVBob

I'm comfortable doing that with guitars, they aren't such a large expenditure, and I'm familiar with their inner workings and build details, but to take a chance on a piano only to find out that I've gotten something that has some structural issue that nobody caught, or that it won't stay in tune or whatever...that's not something I want to deal with....it's worth taking the hit on the extra cost and the depreciation for me. (at this point, which is knowledge ground zero)

Bob - I don’t want to sound discouraging on your new piano adventures but when you finance a new piano, you take depreciation on the total price before you make the payments which build your equity. With 0 percent interest your equity builds more quickly but still you are in debt.
Be very careful. Piano shopping can be a thrill. But don’t buy what you really can’t afford. Best of Luck!

I understand, thanks for the helpful warning.

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2863618
06/28/19 12:58 PM
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Looks like a Yamaha B2 is the Rival to Kawai's K200 and is actually a bit cheaper than a Kawai K200. I'll be playing a B2 hopefully when I'm there as part of the possibles in the pool.

Last edited by PianoWVBob; 06/28/19 12:59 PM.
Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2863624
06/28/19 01:14 PM
06/28/19 01:14 PM
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Learux Online content

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I might be wrong but I remember when I was looking for a piano that the Kawai K series are more comparable to the U series then the B. Also if you decide on a K200 and you can afford it upgrade to a K300.

Off course much better value for money when you buy a used piano and don't take the initial depreciation hit.


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Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: Learux] #2863627
06/28/19 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Learux
I might be wrong but I remember when I was looking for a piano that the Kawai K series are more comparable to the U series then the B. Also if you decide on a K200 and you can afford it upgrade to a K300.

Off course much better value for money when you buy a used piano and don't take the initial depreciation hit.

Well...it will depend. I looked on Piano Buyer and the "SMP" is the same as the MSRP which is very high on the K200 let alone the K300.

The K200 SMP is set at $7,300 so even that's very high for me, it's basically twice what I had wanted to spend. If that's not a realistic figure, if it's more like $4,500 or something, then that would be great and I could think about going up to the K300.

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2863644
06/28/19 02:25 PM
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Not sure it's still relevant, but I played a new mahogany k15 just a few days ago and here are my impressions:

1. action - on the heavier side (which I really like), key tops felt good, black key dimensions felt right for me.
2. sound - very deep and with really long sustain - especially in the middle register. The notes sustained so long that I'm not sure whether it is a pro or a con. For baroque music it helped me bring out voices that would otherwise decay quickly.
3. bass sounded a bit harsh and flat, as expected from a piano of this height. Still relatively good compared to other pianos at this price range.

I almost bought it, but my teacher said it would limit me when I reach more advanced material, so the search goes on.

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: Ido] #2863669
06/28/19 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Ido
Not sure it's still relevant, but I played a new mahogany k15 just a few days ago and here are my impressions:

1. action - on the heavier side (which I really like), key tops felt good, black key dimensions felt right for me.
2. sound - very deep and with really long sustain - especially in the middle register. The notes sustained so long that I'm not sure whether it is a pro or a con. For baroque music it helped me bring out voices that would otherwise decay quickly.
3. bass sounded a bit harsh and flat, as expected from a piano of this height. Still relatively good compared to other pianos at this price range.

I almost bought it, but my teacher said it would limit me when I reach more advanced material, so the search goes on.

Well that's good to know! That's in my price range there.

I'm not going to be going to advanced material so that might be just fine for me. I'm a living room chunker, sing alongs, having fun, christmas, that sort of thing.

Thanks for chiming in!

Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: PianoWVBob] #2863719
06/28/19 06:30 PM
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I thought K300 was equivalent to the U1.I have tried the K300.The U1, I compaired to b3 and of course I preferred the U1.The action on the b3 was not bad.
The dealer said the b2 was more successful than the
b3 as a piano! I never tried the b2.
Kawai has a totally different tone to Yamaha however.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 06/28/19 06:31 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: So tell me about Kawai K15 or 506N Studio [Re: Lady Bird] #2863819
06/29/19 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
I thought K300 was equivalent to the U1.I have tried the K300.The U1, I compaired to b3 and of course I preferred the U1.The action on the b3 was not bad.
The dealer said the b2 was more successful than the
b3 as a piano! I never tried the b2.
Kawai has a totally different tone to Yamaha however.

Interesting.

I'm not sure if it will change anything but I'm interested to see how the actions compare with each other. The K200 and up have the Millennium III action. I"m not sure about Yamaha...I guess I should investigate it just to know.

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