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I'm no big fan of James Pavel Shawcross, but... his comparison of ES920 and ES8 might, in parts, nevertheless be interesting to some?



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 Mickey_
I'm no big fan of James Pavel Shawcross, but... his comparison of ES920 and ES8 might, in parts, nevertheless be interesting to some?


Glad to hear the sound/speakers are actually improved on the ES920 and it's not just marketing. His conclusion that the ES920 is better but not massively better, makes sense.

Last edited by Patient player; 02/18/21 07:21 PM.
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Interesting review. Knew the es920 was based on the es8, but the way he describes it there's very little that is new: weight reduction / plastic body / a few more voices / BT audio / more powerful speakers. But other than that and some minor tweaks to the action, it's pretty much the same board, including the recording functionality and auto accompaniment.

Well, I'm glad, the tweaks they made were critical for me. Esp the weight reduction, but the BT audio is super sweet as well.

It did seem odd though, the speakers of the es920 were pretty heavily blocked by the ES8. And he barely conceded how important the weight is for many of us, a buying decision. Apparently he doesn't have to schleep his boards?


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I don't know if he mentioned in its video, but compared to the ES8, the ES920 (as well as the latest CN39 and CA59/79/99) has 3 more options to customize the piano sounds:

  • Cabinet Resonance: to give more 'roundness' and 'wood' resonance to the piano sound;
  • Hammer Noise: to adjust the volume of the hammer sound;
  • Low Volume Balance: to raise the volume of the low velocities sounds, so that you can create that "intimate" effect of a piano played pianissimo but with mics very close to the strings.


I often use the Cabinet Resonance effect to make the EX ConcertGrand sound a little more realistic, less digital sounding.

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Here's yet another ("sales-y") comparison video: ES110 vs. ES520 vs. ES920:



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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Just ordered an ES920 🎹 from Sweetwater. It's replacing a Kurzweil PC2X that I bought from them 20 years ago. Looks like they have one more in stock.

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HaHa; I ordered one about an hour before you from SW! I have been playing a CP4 for years and the Dark CFX was the best of any DP's I've played, but it still is "fingernails on a chalkboard". I have compared to multiple VST's (Ivory2, Hammersmith, VSL Steinway, Embertone) and although the VST's sound amazing when others play them, the CP4 has always sounded better (but still not satisfying). Last week I was able to compare Nord Piano with royal grand 3d and MP11SE to a CP88 and the 1st 2 blew away the CP88 and actually sounded great! The MP11SE is impractical due to it's size, and the Nord has a crappy keybed and is way over-priced. My understanding is the ES920 piano sounds are the same as the MP11SE (obviously inferior action though) so I'm hoping I will find the holy grail of DP's!

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Originally Posted by B3boy
[...]My understanding is the ES920 piano sounds are the same as the MP11SE (obviously inferior action though) so I'm hoping I will find the holy grail of DP's!
Actually the ES920 has a slightly improved piano engine compared to the MP11SE.

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Good to know. If I'm disappointed there is always the Nord Grand but now were double the price and 10 lbs heavier.

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Well I read user reviews saying that the Nord Grand is difficult in controlling dynamics, they replaced it with the ES920. Although they share the Kawai Rh3 keybed, Nord modified it by removing the escapement feel, this explains the less good response of the keyboard.

Originally Posted by Pacific42
Just ordered an ES920 🎹 from Sweetwater. It's replacing a Kurzweil PC2X that I bought from them 20 years ago. Looks like they have one more in stock.

When will they arrive in France ? I'm waiting for more than 3 months (ES920 ordered in november)...

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In my case, I ordered my Kawai ES920 from a local shop here in Italy (they don't do shippings), got it in one week and it is still a reference for me in terms of future assistance, just in case. Maybe that would suit your case too, three months is really an unreasonable amount of time.


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maybe they had it in stock, in your local shop.
Seems that none music shop in France has one in stock, the shop I ordered hasn't any other Kawai, same for many Roland and Yamaha...
I could exchange it (+ money difference) with Nord Grand which they have, but I prefer waiting for the ES

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That's strange. To be fair, I bought mine in a piano shop from a city close by (I am currently living in a small region), not in a generic music shop, if it could be of any help. And that was the only shop I checked, I did not call any other shop. On the forum, I read about people complaining on the same issue, since they were mainly checking the big distributions.
Speaking about big distributions, if you don't mind shipping, thomann has it available immediately. That was going to be my second choice, since they also allow returning the DP, just in case. But I am enjoying the ES920 more and more over time, so no need to return.

Wish you good luck!


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Originally Posted by doudou
Well I read user reviews saying that the Nord Grand is difficult in controlling dynamics, they replaced it with the ES920. Although they share the Kawai Rh3 keybed, Nord modified it by removing the escapement feel, this explains the less good response of the keyboard.

You shouldn't rely on others' subjective opinions. Opinions over the escapement simulation are divided. Some experienced pianist write controlling dynamics is difficult also for the Kawai versions of RH3.

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Originally Posted by Alfred La Fleur
That's strange. To be fair, I bought mine in a piano shop from a city close by (I am currently living in a small region), not in a generic music shop, if it could be of any help. And that was the only shop I checked, I did not call any other shop. On the forum, I read about people complaining on the same issue, since they were mainly checking the big distributions.
Speaking about big distributions, if you don't mind shipping, thomann has it available immediately. That was going to be my second choice, since they also allow returning the DP, just in case. But I am enjoying the ES920 more and more over time, so no need to return.

Wish you good luck!

thanks, I've ordered gear at Thomann, no problem, they have it in stock indeed. But I'm not in a hurry because I only use Dp's for gigging, and it's still pandemy. And I ordered it on black friday (10% off) so it'll cost me more if I'll cancel and buy elsewhere.

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Originally Posted by _sem_
Originally Posted by doudou
Well I read user reviews saying that the Nord Grand is difficult in controlling dynamics, they replaced it with the ES920. Although they share the Kawai Rh3 keybed, Nord modified it by removing the escapement feel, this explains the less good response of the keyboard.

You shouldn't rely on others' subjective opinions. Opinions over the escapement simulation are divided. Some experienced pianist write controlling dynamics is difficult also for the Kawai versions of RH3.

I greatly rely on the 2 opinions I read of Nord Grand vs ES920, as they are two great pianists. One is from this guy : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqMLZ9hXINWa0G7MnYW9aMw?view_as=subscriber
He made several videos of the Kawai ES

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Originally Posted by doudou
I greatly rely on the 2 opinions I read of Nord Grand vs ES920, as they are two great pianists. One is from this guy : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqMLZ9hXINWa0G7MnYW9aMw?view_as=subscriber
He made several videos of the Kawai ES

I have no objection to their opinions. Thing is just that it is easy to find great pianists with different preferences. So you can't greatly rely on any, unless you have your own.

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No worries, I get your point now, and 10% is a very good discount on such an expensive instrument.
Also, I noticed that Thomann's prices are slightly higher than the average, since they have this return policy.


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..and now, ladies and gentlemen...



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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The thing that I like about Shawcross (JPS) is that he does not have a dog in the fight other than his You Tube channel. He buys the DPs that he reviews with his own income (except for the MP-11SE) so if he does not like the action, tone, construction etc. it is not likely to effect whether he gets any others to review from that brand in the future. I don't believe the same could be said of other reviewers on YT. Many are affiliated with a store or brand so negative comments about a particular model or brand may be used against them. JPS has not been glowing in his comments about nearly every brand in one way or another. Even his highly recommended models have shortcoming his is not shy about detailing and demonstrating. As I am very heavily invested in the research phase of GAS for my next pastime his perspectives (and those found in this forum) are given a good bit of consideration. I am more likely to listen to him (and you) than someone with an interest in selling the item they are reviewing.

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