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These look really excellent. I'll likely be getting one, and I really appreciate the more powerful speakers and the lighter weight. I've been slightly nervous ever since I got down to one potable keyboard, and not having a backup in case it needs fixing.

I'm curious about the extra sounds, especially the improvements to the acoustic piano sounds and harpsichord. And I'll need to try both to see whether the lighter weight of the 520, which is a pretty big attraction, comes with still acceptable action and sound.

My ES8 will likely stay as my recording/music office/MIDI input keyboard, and this the gigging and jamming board. As someone who mostly plays on real pianos, thanks to Kawai for keeping these models up to date.


Rodney Sauer
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Originally Posted by Mickey_
(Of course, depending on its size, an extra sticker could reduce the weight saving massively. So be careful what you wish for. :-))

lol

Provided one is satisfied with the action of the ES520, it makes an even more compelling case concerning portability and price. For many people I'm not sure the sound and action improvement of the ES920 will be worth the extra cost.

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Originally Posted by Kawai James
One of the new EP sounds is actually recorded from a Hohner Pianet N!

This is the first time that a Kawai DP has included a digital version of this rare electric piano. I'm a big fan of the unique "crispy", "sticky" Pianet N sound, so was absolutely delighted when I stumbled upon when testing the ES920.

Cheers,
James
x

Had one! Quite nice, but lacked the bit of the Wurly. Never went out of tune, though.


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I feel the P-225 was really in need of a major upgrade, so Yamaha made the right choice and completely overhauled it, in a compelling and price-effective way.

The ES8 was still competitive, and there were plenty of folks comparing it to the P-515 and FP-90 (the other main competitors) toe to toe. So while it's not a particularly exciting/revolutionary update, it really didn't need one in the first place. it's unfortunate for some of us in the peanut gallery that not everything was new--new sound engine, new action, etc....and perhaps the naming scheme raised expectations too. IMHO this seems kind of like an ES8-Mk2 or ES8SE. A replacement for the ES8 but not really a huge improvement in the aspects that may of us care about (maybe to the light giggers, the new plastic body and lower weight may make it a better choice for live performances?).

Now we get to direct our attention to the FP-90, which as of today is officially four years old? smile


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Is the es520 supposed to be a replacement for the es110 (seeing as the 110 has been on back order for months on dealer websites)? If so the price jump is ridiculous.

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Originally Posted by AlphaBravoCharlie
Well, what other portable piano, except P515, has audio interface built-in? By 'portable' I mean slab digital piano. Heck, even with 'professional' stage pianos you only get it with flagship models (not in Nord). It's much easier for Yamaha than for other manufacturers to put it inside since they own Steinberg.

I will wait with my opinion about new casing until I try it in a shop and actually touch it. On pictures I like ES8 looks much more. It had something special, the premium feeling which I haven't experienced with any other slab digital. The vertical 'wall' behind keybed with 'Kawai' looks soo classy. Featurewise ES920 is an improvement. ES8 needed better speakers, some BT connectivity and now it's there.

I do miss that mini fallboard, looked high quality and more piano-like.

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Originally Posted by maul
Originally Posted by AlphaBravoCharlie
On pictures I like ES8 looks much more. It had something special, the premium feeling which I haven't experienced with any other slab digital. The vertical 'wall' behind keybed with 'Kawai' looks soo classy.

I do miss that mini fallboard, looked high quality and more piano-like.

Oh yes, to me this design element is very important, probably the most important in design, whether it be a slab or a console. The apotheosis of this design is, of course, MP11/SE. Every time I see this element in it, I never get tired of admiring it. For me, it is extremely important not just for aesthetic pleasure, but also from the point of view of maintaining the correct technique (feeling the border without moving fingers too far). Now there are even practically no console digital pianos left (not counting hybrids), where this element is preserved, so that it is monolithic, solid, without a gap where the sliding keyboard cover slides. Until recently, Kawai console pianos had this element, but in the CA79/99 models they also destroyed it, as I wrote about here.

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According to the Kawai press release, the 520 is a mid range between the 110 and the 920. I would expect the 110 to continue for a bit, and eventually be upgraded. The current shortage of 110s is not surprising, it is a logical starter piano for people stuck in due to the pandemic.


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Originally Posted by 9190
Originally Posted by maul
Originally Posted by AlphaBravoCharlie
The vertical 'wall' behind keybed with 'Kawai' looks soo classy.

I do miss that mini fallboard, looked high quality and more piano-like.

Oh yes, to me this design element is very important, probably the most important in design, whether it be a slab or a console. The apotheosis of this design is, of course, MP11/SE. Every time I see this element in it, I never get tired of admiring it.

It's interesting to learn what details others like so much, or even regard as important – because for them (you!) it is not a detail. I'll never look at that "mini fallboard", as maul calls it, the same... and I don't mean this jokingly.


at home: Kawai MP11SE; Yamaha LG800; Yamaha HS7; Ultimate MS-100B; Sennheiser HD558 | office: MP7SE; K&M 18820; Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro

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Originally Posted by 9190
Until recently, Kawai console pianos had this element, but in the CA79/99 models they also destroyed it, as I wrote about here.
Correction: I meant only CA79, since the CA99 originally in the design of upright pianos, not grand pianos.

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I remember the question of the 'mini fall-board' on Kawais came up some time ago, and there was at least one person who did not like the idea because it could impede playing. I have no horse in this race, but bring this up as a kind of 'alternative view.' At the time somebody posted a link to a video about 'scratches on the fall-board' - probably this one:
[video:youtube]https://livingpianos.com/do-pianists-scratch-the-fallboard-on-a-piano/[/video]


regards
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Yes, it was discussed here.

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Not sure what the big deal is, but the ES920 still seems to have a "mini-fallboard" as you can see here:

[Linked Image]

It's smaller, but a totally valid trade-off given what you get back. This is not a 3.5mm jack we're talking about.

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ES8 for comparison
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

And even bigger with MP7/SE
[Linked Image]

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Originally Posted by 9190
ES8 for comparison
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

And even bigger with MP7/SE
[Linked Image]

I am not trying to derail, but seriously, why give up that elegance (ES-8) over whatever the end goal was for the ES-920? The ES-920 looks like the old, less-refined version of the ES-8. This just doesn’t make any sense; and please don’t tell me it’s all in the name of portability because it isn’t. For god’s sake, even the speaker grill is nicer on the ES-8.

Why didn’t they simply create a new more ‘portable’ lineup and not mess around with the ES-8’s classic elegance. If anything, the ES-8 successor should’ve been even more robust. Don’t you get it? That’s what the ES-8 is all about, and not cute, flimsy lightness.


P.S.

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to be negative for the sake of it; this is really just the way I feel about this. The last time I felt so disillusioned was back in 2013 when Apple released the trash can. Why Cook, why?😩

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Originally Posted by Pete14
My biggest beef is with the sound engine; this is one spec that is truly important, and will make a significant difference.

Plenty of P515 users ditch the native sound engine in favor of VSTs. You still use Pianoteq, right?

Point to P515 if it has good resonance modeling but the ES920 doesn't.

Originally Posted by Pete14
The action is more of a personal thing, I guess, but I do feel that wood not only looks better but also feels better (I know, some people can’t tell or care for a difference; hence, personal).

Right. P515 has real wood, ES920 has real Ivory Touch... but the more important question is how the actions themselves compare.

Finally, it appears that the ES920 has a significantly improved and redesigned speaker system that is class-leading.

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Well, my playing doesn't improve much by the design of the instrument.

I'm not going to be overly drawn into speculations on the value of these new instruments till I've had a good time playing them.

Accepting change of features one likes is hard as it involves loss aversion, a feeling which Kahnemann determined to be almost twice as emotionally impactful as the perceived value of improvements. So the metal has gone, and the fallboard is less pronounced. If it doesn't bother Stevie Wonder, I'll get over it. On the plus side, users can cut back on their deadlift sets.

Am I so good at piano that I've endless energy to argue/discuss an instrument (albeit long anticipated) on paper? I'm thinking not this time.

Made that mistake with the CLP685 when I trashed Yamaha for not releasing an instrument with better specs. Was forced to swallow my words after playing it. I'm hoping the Kawai ES920 will feel like a decent step forward, or why release it? They must believe it is...

Let's not trash talk the thing to death, but instead go practice. We should suspend this discussion till there are some actual playing experiences to share.


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If portability is not important and looks matter so much why not get a console style piano instead?

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...because they’re bigger and more expensive. The ES-8 is the poor man’s console piano that is big enough, yet somehow fits anywhere in the house.

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Originally Posted by Pete14
...because they’re bigger and more expensive. The ES-8 is the poor man’s console piano that is big enough, yet somehow fits anywhere in the house.

Fair enough

Last edited by 88snowmonkeys; 09/09/20 08:10 PM.
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