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I have an ES 920 and I kept my ES8. The ES 920 is a little softer when the key reaches the bottom. I suspect that if you got replacement switches for the ES8, it would be the same as the ES920. I like the ES8 a little better, but that’s probably because I’ve been playing on it for a number of years. I can make good music on either instrument, but the 920 is noticeably lighter to schlep.


Rodney Sauer
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Thanks, the other thing I’ve heard is the ES-920 has a little bit better sound system.
Otherwise I guess the ES-920 and ES-8 seem pretty much identical except for weight.

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terminaldegree, just now found and read your excellent review on the pianobuyer.com site, very helpful.

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If you search YouTube for "ES920 versus ES8", you'll find at least two comparison reviews. One by Stu Harrison of Merriam Pianos and one by James Pavel Shawcross "ThePianoForever".

James seems to believe that Kawai went cheap when using plastic instead of wood and metal on the es920, whereas Stu says it was a deliberate decision by Kawai to have a lighter more portable instrument for gigging musicians.

IIRC Stu said the RH3 action was revised on the es8 in late 2019 due to some problems. If you have an es8 older than that then the action is likely different from the es920.

"Unfortunately" Kawai kept the name RH3 even though it was modified, unlike how they handled the Grand Feel I, II, III changes.


Kawai CA79 (Nov 2020), Kawai ES920 (Aug 2021), Roland ep7-ii (1993)
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Originally Posted by scriabinpiano
terminaldegree, just now found and read your excellent review on the pianobuyer.com site, very helpful.

I wasn't aware of this site. Excellent!


Kawai CA79 (Nov 2020), Kawai ES920 (Aug 2021), Roland ep7-ii (1993)
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Thank you for reading.


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Got my ES-8 January 2020 from Sweetwater, so guess I got the latest and identical to ES-920.

Regardless, it’s a decent playable action, to me better than anything else I’ve played at this price. I’ve been ok practicing some recent rep on it (Liszt Ballade 2 etc) using a vst library, no big problems action wise. Not the same experience as my acoustic, but pretty good. Don’t really like the internal piano sounds.

Some folks like the VPC1 action much better, others don’t. I guess everyone would rate the MP-11se GF as better (neither so portable).

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Originally Posted by scriabinpiano
Is the ES-920 action identical to the ES-8? If not, what are the differences?

Same question about internal sounds…same or different?

Please refer to this post:

Kawai announces ES920 and ES520 portable digital pianos

Kind regards,
James
x


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Thanks James, yikes that’s some thread. Got the gist of it, helpful. Hope I got the tweaked action, so far it’s ok.

If I get an ES920 for my recording studio, I won’t use the speakers or any internal sounds.

I occasionally use the speakers on my ES-8, hardly ever use internal sounds.

If you sold a controller where you strip out all the sound generating hardware from the ES-8/920 and price it decently, I’d buy it. VPC-2?

I’ve wondered how long digital piano companies think they can sell inferior internal piano presets. Why hasn’t someone partnered with one of the better VST vendors? Who knows.

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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by jsf112
Thank you for the response, I have indeed tried method 1 and it is quite noisy due to some sort of ground loop.

You can perhaps try a ground loop isolator:

https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=ground+loop+isolator&ref=nb_sb_noss

Kind regards,
James

x

Originally Posted by scriabinpiano
Agree with James, I’m using the Pyle PHE300 on the ES-8. I’m an EE former analog chip designer, and got lost trying to sort out balanced/unbalanced inputs, outputs, cable TRS - just got the box.

Questions for anyone:
Is the ES-920 action identical to the ES-8? If not, what are the differences?

Same question about internal sounds…same or different?

That did it! Just a cheap USB isolator killed all of the noise coming through the inbuilt speakers. Got both Garritan CFX and the Pianoteq 7 Demo going perfectly, Appreciate the help all!

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Originally Posted by scriabinpiano
If I get an ES920 for my recording studio, I won’t use the speakers or any internal sounds.

I occasionally use the speakers on my ES-8, hardly ever use internal sounds.

If you sold a controller where you strip out all the sound generating hardware from the ES-8/920 and price it decently, I’d buy it. VPC-2?

I’ve wondered how long digital piano companies think they can sell inferior internal piano presets.

I have used the internal sounds from the Kawai ES8 for a number of professional grade recording projects. I have never once heard a complaint, even in piano solo works. They are actually quite excellent, responsive, useful, and musical.

And the idea that setting up a separate assembly line for a keyboard where they leave out the sound card would make the piano any cheaper? Sure. Whatever.


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Originally Posted by scriabinpiano
If you sold a controller where you strip out all the sound generating hardware from the ES-8/920 and price it decently, I’d buy it. VPC-2?

I’ve wondered how long digital piano companies think they can sell inferior internal piano presets. Why hasn’t someone partnered with one of the better VST vendors? Who knows.

Are you saying that the RH3 action in the es920 and es8 is significantly better than the RM3Grand2 in the vpc1, or some other reason the vpc1 needs an upgrade?


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Mostly a spurious thought about how I’m in the market for another digital piano to just get the action.

IMO the core competency for Kawai is their unique extraordinary knowledge of action mechanics and design, moreso than their unique understanding of sampling and digital sound generation. Most folks who use vst libraries extensively say it’s not fair to compare internal to vst, usually not even close. Other companies who do nothing but piano libraries are really good at their craft and it’s not easy.

You can of course successfully use whatever, especially in a mix. My old Korg M1 piano is on tons of hit records, I used it in the 90s on tv tracks. But on a solo classical recording…? I’ve been test recording some classical rep using the es-8 and Embertone Walker 1955 that could almost give my (real) Steinway D a run to casual listeners (but not quite). It took effort to tweak both the controller and library to get good results.

Everybody knows the vpc1 isn’t the latest technology, lots of debate about if/when vpc2 could or even should come at some point.

The ES-8 RH3 is the only digital action I’ve played a lot recently and IMO it’s good, although the MP11SE is generally reviewed as having the best portable Kawai action.

Whatever works, cheers.

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Korg’s action is the dated RH3 Kawai’s action is the very much better RHIII

To my fingers and ears Kawai have not only developed some of the best keybeds for digital instruments in the last 10 years, but also a very effective sound engine. It is much more than a simple multi layered velocity switched sample play back design. It does create a very good sounding piano with a very broad honest sounding dynamic that is almost perfectly articulated from the keyboard.

I think the only reason someone may want to use an external piano sound app is to introduce different brands of piano. Kawai have beautifully modelled their best pianos but they are their pianos. I don’t have any problem with this because I think they sound great. It also highlights the failure of Yamaha to do the same because if Yamaha’s grand pianos sounded as overly thin, treblely and lacking in real dynamic character as they do on their digital pianos (e.g. P515 and CP 88) no one would buy their acoustic pianos.


Piano Journey: 1930's Upright> Rhodes Mk2 73> Wurly EP200> Gebauhr 1905 6' Grand> Yamaha P250> Roland RD700SX,RD700GX> Nord Stage 2 HA88> Roland RD800> CASIO PX5s & Kurzweil Forte & Kawai MP7SE> Kronos 2 61, Roland RD2000
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Hello everyone,
I've just received my new ES920, but I am a bit disappointed because when I keep mids pretty high and I press some buttons (especially 5 consecutive buttons in the middle of the keyboard), the sound comes out very cackled, croaked, like if the speakers were old or broken. Do you think it may be a problem of the keyboard? Or is it a well-known issue? Should I report to the shop where I bought the keyboard?

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Here you can find some videos about this issue (please keep the volume pretty high in order to hear well):
https://we.tl/t-yYhCDb4fiC

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Does the crackling sound come through headphones?


Kawai CA79 (Nov 2020), Kawai ES920 (Aug 2021), Roland ep7-ii (1993)
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Originally Posted by RickM
Does the crackling sound come through headphones?
I've just tried, and no! Through headphones the sound is perfect!

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Originally Posted by Riccardo92
Originally Posted by RickM
Does the crackling sound come through headphones?
I've just tried, and no! Through headphones the sound is perfect!

Ok, so it seems it's not the generated sound itself.


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Hi, I have been looking to record the audio from my ES920, using a usb B to C cable only in Logic X, with no success.
I have been doing recordings in the past using jack audio cables, thus I am a bit puzzled if a usb cable is able to do the same thing. Any hint? Thanks.

Last edited by Alfred La Fleur; 08/16/21 01:27 PM.

Kawai ES-920
Yamaha P-121
Yamaha P-90
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