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Kawai ES110, my review #2932672 01/11/20 05:06 PM
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rintincop Online Content OP
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The ES110 has a very full and realistic mid range that I miss in the other brands I have auditioned. I use it for jazz gigs thus require a carrying weight less than 30 pounds and also built in monitors. Of course, when playing live, I always augment the onboard speakers with an external ampr or PA. The other models I compared the ES110 with were the Roland FP10 and FP30, the Yamaha P-125, and the Casio PX-360 and PX-S3000. The ES110 action is more accommodating to my advanced technique than the others in its class. I can fly away on the keys more accurately and with less effort. I don't get less fatigue on this action. I also think the 110 sounds are superior for straight ahead jazz: the piano, Rhodes, organ, and vibes. In my opinion, the Kawai samples simply have better clarity and fuller mids.

I did need to tame the vintage Fender Rhodes electric piano because its default setting is far too jumpy, meaning it barks to easily and the tines are overly dingy. So, I set the Touch to Hard. It's very realistic now, it tamed both the previously jumpy dingy bell tone and the jumpy bark, both are far less pronounced, as they should be, is just right now. I also turned Off its Auto-Pan to focus the Rhodes more. By the way, I've owned a real Rhodes since 1979, and have always aimed for Herbie Hancock's clean tone vintage Rhodes as heard on the CTI recordings.

Conclusion. The Kawai ES110 is the clear winner. Other models compared with Roland FP10, FP30, Yamaha P125 Casio PX-360, Casio PXS-1000. Highly recommended.



Professional | 1966 Mason & Hamlin | Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 |
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Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2932681 01/11/20 05:36 PM
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Correction: I get less fatigue on this action.

Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2932715 01/11/20 06:31 PM
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Thanks for the review. This one is on my short list the next time I need a new slab piano.


Decent upright bassist; aspiring decent pianist
Present: Roland FP-30, Casio CDP-130
Future: Kawai CA79?
Past: Casio PX-830, Casio PX-160
Etc.: Roland KC-80, PianoTeq (Bluethner, U4, Vibes, Xylo)
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2933606 01/14/20 08:38 AM
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Having played recently a P125, and knowing well the sound timbre of the ES110, I can say that I like more the timbre of the P125. I feel it's more round and more detailed in the overtones... If you are used to acoustic piano sounds, with the ES110 you'll hear immediately that it's a digital sound, and I think Kawai went a little over the top with those exaggerated middle-low frequencies. However, the ES110 is a much more dynamic instrument (more timbral variations from ppp to fff), so if you are an intermediate/advanced pianist I think you would feel much more at home by playing the ES110, because you can be more expressive with it. And I think that even for a beginner pianist the ES110 is a very good choice, because you could learn better to control dynamics.

So, in that low price range, I think the P125 is the best choice for a pop music piano player, but the ES110 is the best choice for the beginner pianist who would like to learn classical music without spending too much money, or the intermediate/advanced pianist who just wants an expressive but light 88-keys DP to carry around without too much hassle.

Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2933682 01/14/20 11:34 AM
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Interesting review and the ES110 is also quite cheap, so presumably good value for money.

I love the recent Kawai acoustic upright pianos (K-600, K-800). I've never played a Kawai fully digital piano though.

One good thing about Kawai digital pianos is that they have (according to the Kawai website) a 6 year manufacturer's warranty. (Other brands like Casio only have a 3 year warranty).

Originally Posted by rintincop
Correction: I get less fatigue on this action.

Do you need to use adjustable touch settings on it to reduce the fatigue?

I have a Casio's PX-S1000 and always set it to the lightest touch setting. A slightly annoying thing is that it doesn't remember your settings, so you have set it to the lightest touch setting anew every time you turn it on.

Last edited by 3am_stargazing; 01/14/20 11:44 AM.

M-Audio Keystation 49 | Casio PX-S1000 | Yamaha HS8 studio monitors
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: 3am_stargazing] #2933691 01/14/20 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 3am_stargazing


One good thing about Kawai digital pianos is that they have (according to the Kawai website) a 6 year manufacturer's warranty. (Other brands like Casio only have a 3 year warranty).


* Oops I just looked it up, and Kawai have a 5 year warranty. (I misremembered). Still it's two years better than the Casio warranty.

Last edited by 3am_stargazing; 01/14/20 11:50 AM.

M-Audio Keystation 49 | Casio PX-S1000 | Yamaha HS8 studio monitors
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: 3am_stargazing] #2933692 01/14/20 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 3am_stargazing
Originally Posted by 3am_stargazing


One good thing about Kawai digital pianos is that they have (according to the Kawai website) a 6 year manufacturer's warranty. (Other brands like Casio only have a 3 year warranty).


* Oops I just looked it up, and Kawai have a 5 year warranty. (I misremembered). Still it's two years better than the Casio warranty.

In Sweden, Kawai offers only 2 years warranty. That’s at least up until a year ago when I was shopping around for a new DP.


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: magicpiano] #2933717 01/14/20 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Having played recently a P125, and knowing well the sound timbre of the ES110, I can say that I like more the timbre of the P125. I feel it's more round and more detailed in the overtones... If you are used to acoustic piano sounds, with the ES110 you'll hear immediately that it's a digital sound, and I think Kawai went a little over the top with those exaggerated middle-low frequencies. However, the ES110 is a much more dynamic instrument (more timbral variations from ppp to fff), so if you are an intermediate/advanced pianist I think you would feel much more at home by playing the ES110, because you can be more expressive with it. And I think that even for a beginner pianist the ES110 is a very good choice, because you could learn better to control dynamics.

So, in that low price range, I think the P125 is the best choice for a pop music piano player, but the ES110 is the best choice for the beginner pianist who would like to learn classical music without spending too much money, or the intermediate/advanced pianist who just wants an expressive but light 88-keys DP to carry around without too much hassle.

It should be noted, that both the ES1x0 and the P-1x5 feature only one single (forte) sample layer, which is then filtered and volume-adjusted. So they are both not very great for classical piano practice.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: 3am_stargazing] #2933718 01/14/20 12:56 PM
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You might be surprised to find out that the warranty doesn't get much use.
Key failures attributed to "dust" (a common occurrance) are not covered.
Other (covered) failures are quite uncommon and will likely be discovered early.

Anyway ... whether the warranty lasts for 3, or 5, or 6 years ... by the end of the warranty period a cheap piano is a throw away.
So I'm thinking that the longer warranty doesn't matter much.
Originally Posted by 3am_stargazing
Originally Posted by 3am_stargazing
One good thing about Kawai digital pianos is that they have (according to the Kawai website) a 6 year manufacturer's warranty. (Other brands like Casio only have a 3 year warranty).
* Oops I just looked it up, and Kawai have a 5 year warranty. (I misremembered). Still it's two years better than the Casio warranty.

Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: JoeT] #2933749 01/14/20 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeT
It should be noted, that both the ES1x0 and the P-1x5 feature only one single (forte) sample layer, which is then filtered and volume-adjusted. So they are both not very great for classical piano practice.

And the Yamaha samples are also stretched, iirc. Only every third note has an actual sample. The notes in between are stretched from those samples. Or has this changed in the P125?

Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: JoeT] #2933770 01/14/20 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeT
It should be noted, that both the ES1x0 and the P-1x5 feature only one single (forte) sample layer, which is then filtered and volume-adjusted. So they are both not very great for classical piano practice.


Just to show how opinions vary so much, over on this thread: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...casio-keyboard-for-my-daughter-help.html

Originally Posted by rintincop

I am a professional pianist and a veteran piano teacher. Kawai ES110 is the closest key action to a real piano. The tone is warmer too. My daughter is 9 and she hates the Casio action but lives he Kawai feel. She can play Bach and Chopin on the Kawai action but refuses to on the Casio action.


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: Chrispy] #2933779 01/14/20 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrispy
Originally Posted by JoeT
It should be noted, that both the ES1x0 and the P-1x5 feature only one single (forte) sample layer, which is then filtered and volume-adjusted. So they are both not very great for classical piano practice.


Just to show how opinions vary so much, over on this thread: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...casio-keyboard-for-my-daughter-help.html

Originally Posted by rintincop

I am a professional pianist and a veteran piano teacher. Kawai ES110 is the closest key action to a real piano. The tone is warmer too. My daughter is 9 and she hates the Casio action but lives he Kawai feel. She can play Bach and Chopin on the Kawai action but refuses to on the Casio action.


I learned many classical piano works on the Kawai ES100, the predecessor of the ES110. While its two-sensor action features nice long keys with 22 cm of pivot length, it's not anywhere close to a to real piano, neither in build (all plastic), nor in feel (no inertia, no escapement) nor in velocity mapping (quite jumpy in the lower levels). And while the 88 key sampling sounds much nicer than for example Pianoteq, it's sample memory size of just 32 MB is limiting ear training.

The ES1x0 also has an issue with note stealing, which makes it unusable when you run into the polyphony limit of 192 (= 96 stereo notes): It delays new notes in that case.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2933800 01/14/20 03:49 PM
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The ES110 has a different action than the ES100 which improved the velocity control. The hammers were moved from the front to the back of the keys. That's a substantial change in leverage. It's not "quite jumpy". And nobody is claiming it has the build quality or action design of a acoustic piano. It's 26 pounds, of course its plastic.I can play huge arpeggios with the sustain pedal on and I do not notice any note stealing.


Professional | 1966 Mason & Hamlin | Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 |
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2933952 01/14/20 09:28 PM
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Thanks for the review of the ES110! I am mainly a jazz player, and I have had this piano for years. Has served me well. No issues with the piano itself. I keep thinking I need to get a Casio PX-S1000 only because it may be easier to transport to gigs and rehearsals. Maybe. Maybe not.

I recall listening to a review by Piano Man Chuck who stated the ES-110 is about at the top of the list for pianos that have a great piano sound and it is a great choice if one is looking mainly for piano sound. I really do not need all the other sounds as a jazz pianist, maybe some occasional Rhodes sounds, but it is 99;9% piano sound I am after.


Kawaii ES-110; Casio Privia PX-S-1000
Jazz, blues, Latin, and a touch of classical and new age.
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2933965 01/14/20 10:41 PM
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It’s the same weight as the Casio, so I don’t think it’s any different to move it. But you would be sacrificing action quality and piano tone. It’s to fly on the shorter S keys.


Professional | 1966 Mason & Hamlin | Kawai ES110 | Mojo 61 |
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: JoeT] #2934040 01/15/20 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeT
It should be noted, that both the ES1x0 and the P-1x5 feature only one single (forte) sample layer, which is then filtered and volume-adjusted. So they are both not very great for classical piano practice.
Yes, probably they have both just one velocity layer, but the big difference is in the effectiveness of the Low-Pass filter. On the P125 this LP filter is very light, so you feel more changes in volume that in timbre. On the ES110 the LP filter is much more incisive, so you feel greater dynamics when you play. Of course, a better LP-filter doesn't mean that the timbre is more natural sounding (I think the P125 wins here), but just that you feel more variations in the waveform as you go gradually from ppp to fff, and this is very good to make the beginner develop better his control on dynamics.
Note that filtering is just a rough method to compensate for the lack of velocity layers, so you will not hear all the subtle details of an acoustic piano note played at different velocities, but at least you will not feel that only the volume changes.
Anyway, no one said that these DPs are "great" for classical piano. I just said that IMHO the ES110 is better than the P125 for classical music learning. Also, I think that in that price range you cannot get something much better than those 2 instruments.

Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: rintincop] #2934043 01/15/20 04:42 AM
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Do we even know (as in really know) that Harmonic Imaging is single layer?

The DPBSD analysis suggests otherwise: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2192390/re-the-dpbsd-project.html#Post2192390

But it isn't really "knowing" either, I suppose.

Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: clothearednincompo] #2934062 01/15/20 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Do we even know (as in really know) that Harmonic Imaging is single layer?

The DPBSD analysis suggests otherwise: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2192390/re-the-dpbsd-project.html#Post2192390

But it isn't really "knowing" either, I suppose.
No, we don't know for sure, you are right... And the filtering and interpolation used by Kawai are so smooth that you never feel sudden changes in the (eventual) layers. Considering the low amount of memory this DP has, and considering that there are different samples for each one of the 88 keys, doing some quick calculations, I think there could be up to 2 velocity layers without compression, up to 4 layers with lossless compression. But does this DP have enough computational power to be able to "decompress" and play up to 192 samples (its max polyphony) in real time?
From the spectral analysis of the ES100 C4 note (from the thread you linked) I'm not able to see distinct layers. The progression is too smooth to me (and in a real acoustic instrument, the progression of the sound timbre from ppp to fff is not so smooth and consistent). I can only see 4 very very slight variations in the progression, but they are so subtle that I think they could even be some little noises generated by the DAC (Digital to Analogic Converter) chip or by the compression in the MP3 file.

Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: clothearednincompo] #2934064 01/15/20 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Do we even know (as in really know) that Harmonic Imaging is single layer?

The ES100's implementation is and due to the 88 key sampling it is clearly audible.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Kawai ES110, my review [Re: magicpiano] #2934066 01/15/20 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by magicpiano
From the spectral analysis of the ES100 C4 note (from the thread you linked) I'm not able to see distinct layers. The progression is too smooth to me (and in a real acoustic instrument, the progression of the sound timbre from ppp to fff is not so smooth and consistent).

There is no need for spectral analysis. Just carefully listen in to A3 (220 Hz).

Also the ES1x0 has a second (stretched) sample set stored under Grand Piano 2.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
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