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This is a slightly long post but I want to share the full picture.
When I was young I took piano lessons for 10 years and gave some as well towards the end. But after college and I started my career the upright piano was back at my parents house so only played when I visited.
After moving to US I decided I need to get me a digital piano and bought a FP3 from Roland.
It was fun to play again but I never really got into it and as I took on more work and started college for a MBA it dropped even more. Fast forward to now when I really want to pick up playing again and I realized I hate the action on the FP3. Loud and no springiness/bounce like you have on a real piano. I tried a bunch of pianos today at Guitar center and I didn't like a single one. Was especially disappointed in the Nord 5, given it's price.

So I am looking at the Roland FP90X, I had a chance to briefly try it at a dealer last year until it was sold and due to supply chain there is not one in North Texas to be found to try. I remember I tried the FP30X with PHA4 action and I really hated it.
Before trying it I had my sight on FP60x due to features and sounds. But the key action completely removes it from my list. Going from that to 90X with PHA50 felt like a dream to play.
I also found a Kawai dealer which had CA49 and MP7SE. I couldn't stand the MP7SE so RIII is out as well so ES902. But the CA 49 felt amazing but I have no way of comparing it to a FP90X.

Here is a complication, I have back pain so I have gotten myself a desk that can be raised so I can play standing when I need to. Hence CA49 is out and the next piano which has the Grand feel action is the MP11SE and dealer has no clue when he will get it in stock. According to Dealer CA49 and MP11Se has roughly the same action.

I just noticed FP90X is starting to show up at dealers online but not MP11SE. I really like built in speakers like the FP90X has and it has organ sounds and some other nice features. But the most important feature for me is the keyboard action, 95% with 5% remaining being the sounds. I will have this in my house and it will never hit the road unless I move...

So for me it is between MP11SE or FP90X and could use some advice since I have not been able to try out the MP11SE. Kawai dealer is on other side of town compared to the Roland dealer so if I try CA49 it then takes an hour to get to a dealer that at least has RD5000 and that makes it hard to do a fair comparison.
Can I assume playing on the the RD5000 is on par with FP90X? Have read some posts about it feeling differently.
I also do not like clunky/noisy keys since I play a lot of low key pieces and then I don't want to hear the keys.

PH4 and RHIII and most other actions feels rough, when I press the key down it kind of vibrates into my fingers which I didn't feel in FP90-X and especially not CA49 with Grand Feel.
I have tried a ton of brands (except Yamaha CP88 which I can't find locally) and models and I realized I need at least PHA50 or MP11SE Grand feel action. Price difference with adding studion speakers is almost $1000 to go with MP11SE but I plan to keep this piano for a long time so I am willing to invest if have to.
FP90X is an attractive package but will I regret not going for the MP11SE if that has the best action?
Tomorrow I will try a RD5000 that I have found at one dealer (assuming key action is the same as FP90X) and play for a while to feel it out during a longer session. Problem is I can't do the same with MP11SE but I hope the Kawai dealer still at least has the CA49 so I can do a longer session there as well and hope it is on par with MP11SE.
Does MP11SE and CA49 have the same action?

Sorry for the long winded post, appreciate any advice/comments and if I have insulted someone who has a piano that they think is great and I complained about, I apologize.

Last edited by npeterh; 01/27/22 11:01 PM.
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If key action is your primary criteria of choosing then go for MP11SSE. The other option would be Yamaha P515. I liked MP11SE more. It felt more natural to me. I liked more Yamaha sounds, but better key action turned my head towards MP11SE. After tweaking the sound of Kawai (high cutoff +6, string resonance +6) I found the sound quite pleasing. I'm using 99% of the time headphones otherwise powered monitors. Anyway internal speakers of digital pianos sound quite terrible. You have to go to the high end models (CA79, CA99 or likes form Yamaha) to get sound quality somewhat close the descent studio monitors. Presonus Eris 5XT would be my choice. Now I have pair of Eris 3.5 on my MP11SE. They sound nice after additional EQ but 5XT would be better...

If you don't have to move the unit much go for MP11SE.

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Hello,

@npeterh, My preference would definitely also be on an MP11SE plus a good sound system/good speakers. In particular, if for you it is a longer time investment, I think it will hold up the best in terms of interest, satisfaction and flexibility.

Note that the actions in the MP11SE and CA49 are of similar principal design, yet not exactly the same. Still, the fact that you like the CA49 that much is telling.

Maybe this video can provide some further insight (MP11SE compared with another Roland with PHA-50).

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ


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Originally Posted by HZPiano
Hello,

@npeterh, My preference would definitely also be on an MP11SE plus a good sound system/good speakers. In particular, if for you it is a longer time investment, I think it will hold up the best in terms of interest, satisfaction and flexibility.

Note that the actions in the MP11SE and CA49 are of similar principal design, yet not exactly the same. Still, the fact that you like the CA49 that much is telling.

Maybe this video can provide some further insight (MP11SE compared with another Roland with PHA-50).

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ

+1

I find the key action of my MP-11SE very close to my U1. Buttery smooth and a joy to play. All of this of course very much IMHO. But the MP-11SE seem to get a lot of appreciation in whatever posts it appears.


Peter
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Yamaha U1 / Kawai CS11 / Kawai MP-11SE / Kawai MP-7SE / Hammond XK-3c / Vox Continental 73
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My choice would be the FP90X. I prefer it to the MP-11SE action.

I have no problem going between it and my grand.

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npeterh Offline OP
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So today I played both RD2000 and CA49 and although the RD2000 fells good to play it is not as pleasant as the CA49, it is a joy to play!
Plus I used headphones on both to ensure I listened the same way and when playing the RD 2000 at reasonable volume but playing a soft piece I could hear the noise from keys. On CA49 even if lowering the volume I couldn't hear the keyboard. This combined with the great feeling made me decide on Kwai.
Now question is CA49 or MP11SE. The dealer was very helpful and made me aware I could skip the stand the CA49 comes with and i can put it on my own stand! Means I could get it for $2300 same as the FP90X!

Now question is if it is worth going for MP11SE,
I doubt i will ever use even part of all the functionality it has. I will play piano 80% of the time, maybe some organs and add a layer of strings which are all things i can do with the CA49.

Have a few questions for any owner of CA49:

1) CA49 doesn't have USB in or USB to device and I am not sure what this really means.
The question is I can connect and use garageband on my laptop if it connects via bluetooth midi?
2) Can I use garageband to play a sw instrument omg the cA49 to compensate for the limited number (19) of sounds on the CA49?
3) CCA49 has no line out but it has a phone jack so can I use that to connect additional speakers (studio monitors) if I want?

Basically I would also like to use garageband to ad a layer of drums or other instruments while i play the CA49 in piano mode.
I know I get USB to midi and also double the number of sounds on CA59 but production of that model is on hold according to sales guy and it gets even more expensive than the MP11SE so I might as well go with hat model if I go that route.
But basically for me the keyboard action and the instruments/sounds on CA49 has most of what I need.

Appreciate if anyone that knows the CA49 can answer my questions. Now I just need to wait until CA49 or MP11SE becomes available to buy (the CA49 I played on was already sold).

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I don’t have the CA49 but I’m in exactly the same situation as you, I just also have the CLP745 as a third choice.

Midi to device would usually be to a USB storage device (like a stick). I don’t think it would be relevant to an iPad situation since you have USB to Host (USB midi) on the CA49, which controls the computer with GarageBand. You shouldn’t need Bluetooth midi, just the USB to Host. Midi in would be to use it as a “slave” to another keyboard if you if wanted to use the sounds but another keyboard; kinda pointless in this case because you’re buying it more for the action. A headphone jack is sufficient for studio monitors but I believe you need an adapter.

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https://kawaius.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Kawai-CA49-Owners-Manual.pdf

CA49 does have usb for connecting to laptop, for midi software like garage band.
Yes you can use headphone out for monitor speakers.


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Originally Posted by JacksonTree
Plus I used headphones on both to ensure I listened the same way and when playing the RD 2000 at reasonable volume but playing a soft piece I could hear the noise from keys
I find the PHA-50 action to be a very quiet action.
Are you sure that you heard the actual mechanical noise and not the emulated hammer noise and key let-off noise?

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npeterh Offline OP
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Yes, I am sure since it was the same sound as I heard with power off. Maybe fp99x is a bit better but according to Roland they have the same mechanism and I can’t find a 90 anywhere near me to test so I have to assume it is the same. Hence I will go with Kawai. Feeling of playing the RD2000 was good though, a close second to the CA49.

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Was the RD2000 used? I recently tried one they had the same issue but it was very, very used… I’m also worried about the durability of the CA49 action as mentioned on the other thread:
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-feel-compact-slip-tape.html#Post3189481

Last edited by JacksonTree; 01/30/22 05:56 PM.
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Originally Posted by npeterh
Does MP11SE and CA49 have the same action?
I don't think this was ever fully answered.

The MP11SE has the Grand Feel (first version) action.
The CA49 has the Grand Feel Compact action.

The Grand Feel action has the 'slip tape issue' - an essential part of the action that tends to degrade after a few yeras of moderate to heavy use, leading to sticky keys.
The Grand Feel Compact (GFC) uses a different design - visually similar or identical to the design that Kawai has opted to change to on the Grand Feel III action.


I've only seen the one post regarding problems with the GFC action. The slip tape, meanwhile, gets mentioned far more often, though this may also be because there's more models using an action with slip tape out there. But I'd assume that Kawai knew what they were doing when they switched from the slip tape to the GFC's plastic knuckle design for the GF3 action...


As far as the feeling of playing those two goes: I haven't had the pleasure of either, but they're not terribly different in build. I'd expect differences to be fairly subtle.

I did find this old post that shows the differences from a design perspective: https://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthr...tist-ca48-digital-piano.html#Post2679989
The Grand Feel action has a longer lever before the pivot point than the GFC, so the force needed should be more even as you go up the keys.
From the GF to the GFII and GFIII actions that lever has gotten incrementally longer, though I think it's as long as it's going to get now. It'll end up longer than a real grand if they keep going.

Last edited by steamrick; 01/30/22 06:55 PM.

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If you have a bad back, you might regret buying a heavy piano. Someone has to raise the table and if it's you, well . . .I wouldn't like to do that too many times (I'd get sick of it and stop playing probably) and my back's ok.
But my fingers aren't, so I eventually wound up, as everybody is sick of hearing, (so so sorry guys, I really have nothing better to do) with an ES110.
Intereresting is that I'd played it's predecessor, liking the sounds but not the keyboard prior to that time, which I'd considered vastly inferior to that on the 110 which subsequently had been in the shop for ages before I ever tried it.
I'd bought an FP50, followed by a P515 before I got around to that, silly me.
This ES110 is very light, for a quarter of the price, a great responsive keyboard, and it's good to go.
You could get that thing anytime, and be playing it whilst you make up your mind on this other stuff when it becomes available!

There y'are! My words of wisdom for today . . . smile

Last edited by peterws; 01/30/22 06:55 PM.

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Originally Posted by steamrick
Originally Posted by npeterh
Does MP11SE and CA49 have the same action?
I don't think this was ever fully answered.

The MP11SE has the Grand Feel (first version) action.
The CA49 has the Grand Feel Compact action.

The Grand Feel action has the 'slip tape issue' - an essential part of the action that tends to degrade after a few yeras of moderate to heavy use, leading to sticky keys.
The Grand Feel Compact (GFC) uses a different design - visually similar or identical to the design that Kawai has opted to change to on the Grand Feel III action.


I've only seen the one post regarding problems with the GFC action. The slip tape, meanwhile, gets mentioned far more often, though this may also be because there's more models using an action with slip tape out there. But I'd assume that Kawai knew what they were doing when they switched from the slip tape to the GFC's plastic knuckle design for the GF3 action...


As far as the feeling of playing those two goes: I haven't had the pleasure of either, but they're not terribly different in build. I'd expect differences to be fairly subtle.

I did find this old post that shows the differences from a design perspective: https://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthr...tist-ca48-digital-piano.html#Post2679989
The Grand Feel action has a longer lever before the pivot point than the GFC, so the force needed should be more even as you go up the keys.
From the GF to the GFII and GFIII actions that lever has gotten incrementally longer, though I think it's as long as it's going to get now. It'll end up longer than a real grand if they keep going.

That's a lot of advice from someoone who's never played either . . .


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npeterh Offline OP
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In reference to lifting the heavy keyboard. I have got myself the stand of an adjustable desk which has a motor in it to raise it up. Watching a video of putting together a CA49 arriving in a package I think it will work great to skip the stand and put it on my raisable stand instead. Thanks for all info IO hope CA will work out and serve me for many years. Now I just need to find one...

I am leaning toward a satin white one. Anyone have any pictures of a white piano in a normal home?

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Has anyone ordered a CA49 (or other Kawai CA piano) from Amazon?
I just have saved up a lot of gift cards that will help to finance the purchase.

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@npeterh I've had a few white ones :-)

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Originally Posted by npeterh
I think it will work great to skip the stand and put it on my raisable stand instead.

Don't forget that the pedals come integrated in a wood bar as wide as the piano...

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I don't have experience with the CA49 but it looks like a lovely piece of furniture, an inspiring looking instrument that basically has the specs of the mp11. I'd say since you're looking for a stationary home instrument, if it has to be digital, then why not spend a little bit more and get it? or even get the next model as a lifetime investment. I say YOLO, and if you can afford it you'll save money in the long run since you won't feel the need to 'upgrade'.

Another viable option, for a similiar amount of cash you could get something like a MP11SE , a pair of quality monitors (probably result in a much better sound than whatever the CA49 built in speakers have) and most importantly an acoustically treated room! then the sonic experience will be unparalleled, and in any case you'd need to service or upgrade from the MP11SE it would be at least easier to move it with a friend or two.. plus the external monitors and the treated room still retain the value in investment regardless of what instruments are in your house.

The FP90X is not much of a portable instrument, especially if you have a back problem you might even worsen it if you carry it often. Therefore I don't see the appeal of the Roland as a slab piano which is supposedly portable.. might as well get either a better looking furniture type digital piano or a more authentic action and super solid build quality that is the MP11SE.

P.S, for value per $ and especially since keyboard action is 95% for you (and honestly for many people too including myself) I think pretty much any KAWAI > Roland in a similiar price range. I own KAWAI after having either owned or played on many Roland boards. KAWAI just does it better for me (subjectively speaking),you might want to take this into account.

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Originally Posted by Morten Olsson
@npeterh I've had a few white ones :-)

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Which model is the third one along - the 'real' piano with the lid? It looks beautifully unobtrusive


‘A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth’ – Albert Einstein
Roland FP30 in white
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