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Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student #2923018 12/15/19 01:46 AM
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steven_usa Offline OP
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This will be for a 10 year old young lady, who has studied piano 3 years now and enjoying it as a hobby. This will be an upgrade to a Casio CDP 235 (which she has enjoyed quite a bit; it isn't going far away, just to my sisters home).

My daughter has been a good student, happy to go to her lessons and takes initiative to practice on her own. I'd like to encourage her further with a better instrument, but we don't have the space for a full acoustic at this time. She's enjoyed the CDP-235 quite a bit, but I think it is a little lacking on escapement performance.


We don't have both of these near us for her to try, so I have to depend on reviews. I've leaned towards the KDP110 because of the Bluetooth support, said to have "not-as-heavy" keys, appears to have some per-key customization, and the lower price.


There are two aspects of the YDP164R that I do like -- the red felt above the keys gives it a nice touch, and the golden colored pedals. But obviously that's just cosmetic. The more critical aspect is that it has "heavier" keys. (I assume the R in YDP164R is just for rosewood)


The Yamaha does have good software support, but it needs to be tethered. While that may look tacky, I have had issues with Bluetooth in the past as well. So, that's my main question:

- is Bluetooth reliable and perform well enough on the Kawai KDP110 (or any brand)? Is there any noticeable latency or issues? (paired with newer iPad, maybe 2017ish)


If there were any such issue, I suspect the Kawai could be tethered also. So I guess in general, any other reason NOT to choose the KDP110 ? (e.g. longer term, would the heavier "feel" of the YDP164 keys be to her advantage?)



My daughter does sometimes like to play with other sounds (the Casio has 100's). Not all-the-time, but I do hope the 10-14 choices of these more formal digital pianos won't discourage her. Thoughts on this? Can either of these be modded or adjusted to accept new sound samples?

Thanks!

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Re: Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student [Re: steven_usa] #2923063 12/15/19 08:54 AM
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Thanks for supporting your daughter’s musical development.

Are you shopping brick and mortar stores where you can try the features in person? Did you try actually tethering an iPad or connecting via Bluetooth, and see the aesthetic differences in the hardware, in person?

If you’re able to do this, I’d suggest having her spend 30 minutes practicing on the Kawai, maybe grab lunch and then spend another 30 minutes practicing on the Yamaha. Sometimes first impressions evolve over the course of a practice session, making preferences or problems more apparent.


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Re: Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student [Re: steven_usa] #2923078 12/15/19 09:31 AM
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peterws Offline
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A Yamaha DGX 660 might fit the bill; her little fingers wouldn't be over troubled by the short pivot on that action, and it's pretty light and nicely weighted.
There are hundreds of high quality sounds for her in it, too. I had a ball on mine. (I had 3)


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Re: Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student [Re: steven_usa] #2923349 12/16/19 03:03 AM
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Hello steve_usa,

To echo terminaldegree's sentiment, a new digital piano will make a lovely gift for your daughter.

In my opinion, there is little to separate these two models. Both provide a good quality weighted-key keyboard action, and a selection of authentic piano sounds at an affordable price. It really comes down to one's personal preference. My recommendation would therefore be to include your daughter in the selection process and play-test both models thoroughly before making a decision.

To answer your queries:

Originally Posted by steven_usa
- is Bluetooth reliable and perform well enough on the Kawai KDP110 (or any brand)? Is there any noticeable latency or issues? (paired with newer iPad, maybe 2017ish)


The KDP110's Bluetooth MIDI function is reliable and should perform well for most applications. There is more latency than with a wired USB-MIDI connection, however for many players, this is an acceptable trade-off for the convenience of wireless connectivity.

However, I believe it's important to point out that Bluetooth MIDI is limited to sending and receiving MIDI data (such as keyboard and pedal presses) - it does not transmit audio data to or from the instrument. For example, your daughter will not be able to playback the audio from a YouTube video from her iPad through the instrument's speakers via Bluetooth, but she will be able to use the various learning apps that communicate with the piano via MIDI.

While it lacks Bluetooth connectivity, one advantage of the YDP-164 is the inclusion of a USB audio interface. This would allow the sound from the iPad to be sent along a USB cable and played through the instrument's speakers, or for the piano's sound to be recorded into an app digitally. Potentially, this functionality could also be used to augment the available sounds using an iPad app such as Korg Module.

Both the Kawai's Bluetooth and Yamaha's USB audio are useful features, however I don't personally believe that they are necessarily reasons to buy either instrument. Rather, I believe the keyboard action and piano sounds are still the most important characteristics when purchasing any digital piano. This is why it's important for your daughter to play-test both instruments, then have her chose the one she enjoys the most. If it's a dead-heat between both pianos, then additional features such as Bluetooth or USB audio should also be considered.

I hope this helps - best of luck!

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: Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student [Re: steven_usa] #2924152 12/18/19 03:55 AM
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Thanks for all the thoughts! Unfortunately no, we don't have a store nearby to try both.

We're going to try the Kawai KDP110. I think it came out in Jan 2018, so it's now almost a 2 year old model. Yamaha's YDP164 is newer, and we both agree it looks better, but from all that she read and reviewed she wants to try the Kawai action instead.

The Yamaha DGX 660 does look OK, but what discouraged me was the 6W speakers. In that regard, it didn't seem like much of an upgrade over the Casio CDP 235 that she's already experienced.


I'll report on what she thinks of it smile will be a few weeks tho.

Re: Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student [Re: steven_usa] #2924161 12/18/19 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by steven_usa
Yamaha's YDP164 is newer, and we both agree it looks better...


May I ask if this is because of the pedal and felt colour?

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: Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student [Re: steven_usa] #2924399 12/18/19 03:44 PM
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steven_usa Offline OP
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Yes, in old classic pianos they often had red felt above the keys, and it's on a lot of the pianos she's used in her music class and recitals. So maybe it's just a personal preference based on what we're used to. Also the Kawai isn't entirely black, but at least in the photos it still seems pretty dark. I'm hoping maybe it's not quite as dark as it appears.

Then addition - the keyboard cover. The Kawai, when the cover is open, has an exposed "white" bottom (maybe silver?). It's a subtle thing, but the Yamaha open keyboard cover seems black (or maybe it is also Rosewood to match the cabinet) and just a bit less distracting.

Then on the Kawai is some kind of knob on the bottom - I'm assuming some kind of tension knob for the pedals? I haven't read up that yet -- but the Yamaha either doesn't have this, or it isn't as apparent. Obviously once setup and placed on location, this being exposed won't matter.

And the "feet" on the Yamaha just seem sturdier (and have a curve at their top that is just more pleasing).

Small visual things, but we are gambling that the tech on the Kawai is better. Reviews seem to agree on that.

The cost difference is a factor too - and we did talk about that. We agreed it probably won't be the last piano we buy, since eventual plans are to get a bit more space (new room added in a few years) and eventually be able to fit an acoustic (just right now, we'd have to fit that upstairs, and just don't want to deal with that).

Last edited by steven_usa; 12/18/19 03:49 PM.
Re: Kawai KDP110 (w/ BT) vs Yamaha YDP164R for young student [Re: steven_usa] #2924511 12/18/19 08:41 PM
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Hello Steve,

Thank you for your reply.

To respond to some of your comments:

Originally Posted by steven_usa
Yes, in old classic pianos they often had red felt above the keys, and it's on a lot of the pianos she's used in her music class and recitals.


The felt colour can from manufacturer and sometimes even model. On Kawai's current upright and grand pianos, the felt is black, however this obviously does not affect how the instrument sounds or plays.

Originally Posted by steven_usa
Also the Kawai isn't entirely black, but at least in the photos it still seems pretty dark. I'm hoping maybe it's not quite as dark as it appears.


In the US, the KD110 is sold in the Rosewood finish, however Satin Black and limited edition Satin White finishes are also available in some European markets.

Originally Posted by steven_usa
Then addition - the keyboard cover. The Kawai, when the cover is open, has an exposed "white" bottom (maybe silver?). It's a subtle thing, but the Yamaha open keyboard cover seems black (or maybe it is also Rosewood to match the cabinet) and just a bit less distracting.


Ah, I think you're referring to the keylid "lip", which is silver on the KDP110. This looks fine on lighter finish instruments, however I personally prefer the black lip, as used on the current Kawai CN29 and CN39 models. I expect the open/close key cover gap is the same on the Yamaha and Kawai, it's just the colour that differs.

Originally Posted by steven_usa
Then on the Kawai is some kind of knob on the bottom - I'm assuming some kind of tension knob for the pedals? I haven't read up that yet -- but the Yamaha either doesn't have this, or it isn't as apparent. Obviously once setup and placed on location, this being exposed won't matter.


Yes, that's the pedal support bolt which extends to the floor in order to support the pedal board (to prevent flexing when pedals are pressed). All console-type digital pianos have this, regardless of the brand. It's visible in Kawai's product images, but not noticeable when the instrument.

Originally Posted by steven_usa
And the "feet" on the Yamaha just seem sturdier (and have a curve at their top that is just more pleasing).


I'm not 100% sure, however I believe the YDP-164 feet are plastic (this used to be the case for lower-end Clavinova models), while the KDP-110 feet are produced from wood.

Originally Posted by steven_usa
Small visual things, but we are gambling that the tech on the Kawai is better. Reviews seem to agree on that.


As I mentioned in my initial reply, I don't believe there is a great deal to separate these two models. The technology is probably on a similar level.

I still strongly recommend trying to play-test both models in person before making a purchasing decision - even if this making it a day trip.

Best of luck!

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

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