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Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
#2935530 01/17/20 10:12 PM
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Hi Folks,

as i mentioned in the other thread, i received my NV5 two days ago and i'm happy it finally happened. I had sold my NU1X at the start of December 2019 and had no piano until then. Now i got time to play around with it and want to share my thoughts. I will compare the NV5 mostly with its direct competitor the Yamaha NU1X.

For people who don't know me: I am one of the crazy people who are very very very pitty on everything about Digital Pianos. I've owned several Digitals (9 or 10 in total) in the last Three Years including the Kawai Novus NV10 and Yamaha NU1X Hybrids. Due to that I have a broad Experience about Yamaha and Kawai Models and every previous Model had something which i can't ignore hard enough to keep it more than a year. I was always seeking for the "perfect" Digital and i gave Kawai the 3rd try to convince me. So lets find out if it's a success. wink

1. The Cabinet Design:

The Design is a bit different compared to the CS11. It looks less old fashioned and more slim and sleek. It's around 10cm (3,9" for the US Boys) taller than the NU1X. Visually this makes a big difference. It looks huge to compared to the Yamaha. The Width and Depth are the same (+- 1cm). The Key Bed seems a bit deeper compared to Yamahas Model. The Front Speakers at the top are covered behind a thin Line of Fabric Covers. The Top Speakers are held under a cover with a silver outline. Unlike the CS11 the back doesn't have an uncoated wooden cover so it looks good even if you can see the back panel. There are no Woofers so the front is completely coated in PE. Overall it looks amazing. It's balanced between a Modern Appearance and the classic Piano Look.


2. The Key Action:

Playing on the Millenium III Upright Action (NV5 Action for reference) is like the NV10 Grand Action. While both actions are different, you feel that there is a lot going on inside the Piano. You need a bit more Power to move the Key at the beginning and it gets lighter the more you push down while the Hammer is moving. This is something i haven't noticed that much on the NU1X. The Key Bed feels firm. It's not soft like the GFII Key Bed. The Let Off/Escape Mechanism is much more present on the NU1X Action so the NV5 Action feels a bit more grand like. It's easier to play near the Fallboard compared to the NU1X but not as easy as on the NV10 or the AG Grands. It's somewhere between them. The responsiveness is very good. I had no problems to settle in within a couple of minutes. The repitition is good but i don't think you can't reach a level which you can achieve with a grand action. I usually don't play very fast things so i'm not the best person to give a verdict about it.

Overall the feel is amazing. It's a bit lighter than the NU1X action. The Damper Mechanism works much like on the NV10. The Action is getting lighter a bit while holding down the Sustain Pedal.


3. The Sound:

Basically the Technology is identical with the CA-78/98 and NV10 so i don't have to talk much about it. The difference here is the Soundboard and Cabinet Design. While i had a bad experience with a CA-98 (2017) the NV5 does a great Job. The Soundboard adds a chunk of Realism which the NV10 lacks imho. The Bass notes are Growling like a Beast. There is no boxy Sound or Hiss, either in Pianist- or Soundmode. I can't clearly say why it sounds so good compared to my CA-98 in the past. Maybe i had a faulty Unit or the Cabinet makes the Difference. In Comparison, the NU1X sounds a bit dated and tinny. I like the different Voices (especially the Sound Mode Ex Grand) through the Soundboard because it comes close to a real acoustic (nearly the closest of all Pianos i had played). The Vibrations the Soundboard gives are also a plus.


Summary:

The NV5 is a wonderful instrument. It does a great Job on (nearly) all fronts. The Build Quality is superior, it looks amazing. The Key Action is great. The Sound Production is one of the best i've ever experienced on a digital (including the N3X). The only thing i have to complain is the Sustain Pedal. It's awkwardly heavy (similar to the NV10). Is it worth the money? It depends... if you have no problems with upright actions then yes. If not then go for the NV10 or the new CA99 which is basically an NV5 with a grand like action. The NV5 beats the NU1X in almost all Areas but you have to keep in mind that the NU1X is basically an updated model from 2013 and it costs a third less.

We will see how long it lasts but at the moment i'm very happy with it.

[Linked Image]

Last but not least, the most important thing:

The Action isn't as slient as a GFII but my family didn't woke up last night due to the mechanical noise. (whew!)

Feel free to ask. wink

Last edited by Tyr; 01/17/20 10:14 PM.

Kawai Novus NV5
Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935535 01/17/20 10:31 PM
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Awesome man! You are one lucky dude! congratulations!

I am wondering: Since it got a soundboard like the CA98... is it ok to stand directly so close at the wall? It won't muffle the sound?

Thanks for your update on this issue since I have to put my CA 98 a little away from the wall to get the best sound possible!

Greets and congrats again!

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935536 01/17/20 10:39 PM
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Beautiful instrument! The beginning of the end?

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935537 01/17/20 10:56 PM
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Congratulation Tyr!
Envy you, you must be very happy with it.
I remember saying in the previous post that the pedal on Novus is adjustable by Kawai technician?


CA98+ART RM5~~RME ADI2 DAC
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Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935555 01/18/20 12:21 AM
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The NV5 is one sexy looking instrument. Congratulations.

God bless,
David


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Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935597 01/18/20 04:08 AM
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Looks great! On the photo, at first glance, one just sees a piano - period. Not a digital piano, but "just" a piano.
And I can see the shared genes with the NV10, in respect to cabinet design.

Happy for you that you finally found a Kawai sound you like (and I'm hoping for you that it's not just now, during the honeymoon phase).

Looking forward to see if you, or someone else, explores the options for modding the pedal firmness with this model too...

P.S. Oh, and may this thread here live long and prosper! 🖖

Last edited by JoBert; 01/18/20 04:10 AM.
Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935603 01/18/20 04:44 AM
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Looks so amazing!

Congratulations on finally getting it to you home.

This was for sure the piano I want in the future. The CA99 looks nice but it’s not in high gloss and I kind of feel that if you are paying that amount of money you want something special like a mechanical hybrid action.

I hope (but doubt) that Kawai will release a FW update to the NV5 to give you the latest benefits of the CA79/99 updates. Manufacturers in other industries do update their older modes if possible by hardware to the newer features.

Again congratulations!! 😄

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935604 01/18/20 04:50 AM
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Great read from someone that has that much experience with top dp's, thanks for the review.

I can't wait to try one. I liked the NU1x I tried once, so I think it's pretty impressive if the nv5 "beats" that in nearly every way.

I have to say Kawai really stepped their dp game up in the last couple of years, and they now offer truely great choice between the nv5 and the ca99. (and nv10 of course, but I have a hard time taking a price tag like that serious.) But, it does come with quite the pricetag.

I wonder if (or when) Yamaha has plans to come with something new, and what that would be. The recent top dp's are coming to a level which i think is pretty exciting, with their real or close to real actions, soundboards etc.

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935609 01/18/20 05:29 AM
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Congratulations Tyr, and thank you for your review! From a design prespective I think this is the most stellar DP I have ever seen. Wery nice looking with the slim profile while still beeing true to the acoustic role model. One question; how is the key noise compared to the NV10 or the NU1X (except from your family not waking up:))?


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein
Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Boboulus #2935610 01/18/20 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Boboulus
The CA99 looks nice but it’s not in high gloss

Just FYI, the CA79 and CA99 are both available in what you call "high gloss". It's called "Ebony Polish" by Kawai. That's the same finish as the NV5 (and NV10).

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935613 01/18/20 05:53 AM
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Congrats, looks very beautiful!


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
JoBert #2935627 01/18/20 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by Boboulus
The CA99 looks nice but it’s not in high gloss

Just FYI, the CA79 and CA99 are both available in what you call "high gloss". It's called "Ebony Polish" by Kawai. That's the same finish as the NV5 (and NV10).


Aha cool didn’t see that. Thanks smile

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935635 01/18/20 09:48 AM
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Looks great. Tyr, Congratulations. No doubt this will be a best seller.


[Linked Image]

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Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935642 01/18/20 10:19 AM
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Looks good except for those metal hinges on the folding part of the lid that you didn't put down.

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935652 01/18/20 10:45 AM
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Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935667 01/18/20 11:33 AM
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Again I ask, the beginning of the end?

I’m beginning to think that strings are overrated. You simply cannot get this kind of sound from a similarly sized upright acoustic. You’d have to go much taller, and, therefore, much more expensive.

Did I mention that this NV5 beast is basically maintenance free? Yeah, that means no greasy piano tuner showing up at your doorsteps to tune both your piano and your wife (my wife left me for a piano tech/tuner). I’m still hurting, and I will never again feel comfortable around piano technicians. cry

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Pete14 #2935672 01/18/20 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
Again I ask, the beginning of the end?

I’m beginning to think that strings are overrated. You simply cannot get this kind of sound from a similarly sized upright acoustic. You’d have to go much taller, and, therefore, much more expensive.

Did I mention that this NV5 beast is basically maintenance free? Yeah, that means no greasy piano tuner showing up at your doorsteps to tune both your piano and your wife (my wife left me for a piano tech/tuner). I’m still hurting, and I will never again feel comfortable around piano technicians. cry


How can any of us know what this piano actually sounds like in a room when we’re listening through our phones or computer speakers, lol. As others have pointed out, that guy is a stride piano player and he pounds on every piano he meets. Somebody ask him to stop.

I don’t think digital pianos putting their sound through speakers will ever equal the sound of a hammer hitting a string, that’s my opinion.

Maintenance free is not all it’s cracked up to be if you don’t like the sound.

My tuner is not greasy, sorry yours stole your wife. You shouldn’t have left her home alone. Here is John Prine singing about your fate:


Last edited by LarryK; 01/18/20 11:41 AM.

Yamaha U1 Silent Piano
Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935673 01/18/20 11:41 AM
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laugh

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
Tyr #2935686 01/18/20 12:11 PM
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I still don't understand how the NV5 can be placed directly at the wall considering it has a soundboard, in fact the same soundboard as the CA 98 which cannot be placed so close to the wall.

Any infos on that anybody ?

Thanks!

Re: Kawai Novus NV5 - Hands On
lovelovemale #2935691 01/18/20 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by lovelovemale
I still don't understand how the NV5 can be placed directly at the wall considering it has a soundboard, in fact the same soundboard as the CA 98 which cannot be placed so close to the wall.

Any infos on that anybody ?

Thanks!


Wouldn't that just be a matter of just placing the piano a couple of inches from the wall, same as an acoustic upright?

I can imagine it would matter a little less compared to an acoustic, since just a part of the sound comes from the soundboard on a nv5.

In the picture i can see there is some space between the wall and the nv5. Btw Tyr what a lovely space that is for a piano, it seems to be designed to place one!

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