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In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37

Posted By: wolflone249

In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/17/17 03:53 PM

Hello there!

I’m very, very new here on the forum. And I’m also fairly new to playing the piano. Currently I rock a Casio CTK4400, to guide me through my first baby steps in learning how to play. But to me this keyboard doesn’t sound “right.” It sounds too “generated.” Not like pianos I used to hear in my childhood and teenager years.

Now, I have done a lot of reasearch and comparing between the big three companies: Roland, Yamaha and Kawai.
The sound of the Roland straight up doesn’t appeal to me. Now the Yamahas do sound nice, but I read that the action on the Kawais is considered to be better. And yes, I have to admit, after hearing some of them: very, very beautiful.

So I have my eyes on the ES8 and the CN37. I’m aware of the fact that one is portable. That “feature” isn’t really important to me. The price is almost the same where I live. What I’m really concerned is that the ES8 seems to have the better sound generation system in it. And I am very pro sound. But is the difference between them enough to justify that I would have to buy the stand and pedals in addition to the ES8 itself? I can hear slight differences in the YouTube samples, but those might also be due to compression.

I want to buy something on which I can learn, but also enjoy the instrument for many years to come.

So I’m looking to all those of you with many months, years or even decades of playing experience for advice.


Many thanks in advance,
A Lone Wolf.
Posted By: dmd

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/17/17 04:16 PM

I have the ES8 and feel it is a very fine instrument.

The CN37 seems to be a tad bit more appropriate for home use.

It looks more like something you would have in your living room as a piece of furniture.

If you can listen to both of them that would be best.

If not, well .... then the CN37 appears to be a bit higher end than the ES8 ... for whatever reason.

I am sure either would be fine for many years.

Good Luck
Posted By: terminaldegree

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/17/17 06:16 PM

If you can swing the price and don’t care that it’s not portable, I’d pick the 37. More solid stand and pedals, more amplifier power, probably better speaker enclosure, better control interface, etc.

Am pretty sure the samples are the same for either model.
Posted By: peterws

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/17/17 06:33 PM

The samples aren't the same; the ES8 has the better ones spec. wise, and it may be noticeable to you even though it has a more compact speaker system.
Whether it actually sounds better or not is something you'll have to ascertain in a shop, which isn't all that easy given that the showroom will be considerably larger than the room where you are likely to place it after purchase . . . . .
I would have the CN37 because I like it and nearly bought one a couple o' years back. I tried it at the same time as an ES7 in the shop, and it was better in every way. The pedals and keyboard felt lovely.
And have you seen the size o' that music stand?
Posted By: wolflone249

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/17/17 07:58 PM

Thanks guys for the feedback. As far as my playing is concerned, I'm using headphones. Currently Audio Technica M50x. Technically speaking I'm not allowed to make music in my apartment. Noise restrictions blah blah blah...


I have read that the internal amp and the speakers in the ES8 seem a tad on the lower side. But yeah, in terms of samples it has an advantage.
On the other hand the CN37 comes complete with pedals and everything...
I'm so torn apart between those two. 🙁
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 09:28 AM

Hello, Piano-World, long time lurker here.*chuckles*
Thank you for asking this question, wolflone249.

ES8 vs CN37 is the exact conundrum I arrived at, after weeding out many a competitor over the last few months, while considering what my very first piano is going to be:

Acoustics of any kind fell flat because of €, space, and the fact that I already play the alto-flute. Unleashing yet another acoustic instrument on my neighbors would probably be unwise .... and cruel. laugh

I had the chance to dabble around (sorry, can't play yet) on a Yamaha Clavinova (240) with the GH3 action owned my the mother of a friend (so I had the luxury of a quiet environment and could take my time). While I can't speak for the sound b/c it was an old model i immediately disliked the action. She also has an acoustic and, by comparison, the Yamaha action felt awkwardly "binary". Tough to put into words but once you overcome the initial inertia, the key just plummets down to the bottom w/o any further resistance.

Rolands sound too clinical and cold for my taste.

That leaves Kawai. Beautiful, warm sound in whatever video I watched. Sadly, CA series is out of my budget (still need to reserve funds for lessons). I started looking at
CN-37
CA-17/48
ES-8

Considering that I do plan on using VSTs in addition to the internal voice, the absence of a line in on the 17/48 is a rather effective deterrent to a purchase. Also, the 48 got a downgrade in the sound department from HI-XL to PHI, and an overpriced apple gadget is mandatory to make use of the Virtual Technician making me wonder what the point of this product is compared to a CN-37.

So, that was my journey to your / our problem we face right now. ES-8 vs CN-37.

Differences in a nutshell:
CN-37 vs ES-8
PHI vs HI-XL (+ SK-5 voice)
stationary vs portable
350 voices vs 34
4 speakers vs 2 speakers
40W vs 30W amplification (whatever that means in practice, highly dependent on speaker sensitivity)
1630€ vs 1719€ (for fairness I included the stand and GF pedal unit in the ES8s price)

From the videos, it seems to me that the CN-37 is a bit more stable than the ES-8. If you look at the american ES-8 video, it does tend to swing to the sides when played.

I have to say: Kawai certainly did NOT make this decision easy for the customer. :X
When I find time, I will head to a local music store and try both, a piano with HI-XL and a piano with PHI, in order to figure out if there is a difference I can hear.

Edit:
Currently I am leaning towards a white CN-37 though, because in the end, both sound technologies cannot hold a candle to unlooped VSTs like Garritan or modeled pianos like Pianoteq. It's a bit cheaper, has a lot more versatility in voices and recording capabilities and (subjective) looks a lot nicer. Bummer about the SK-5 though. Quite like it.


Quote
And I am very pro sound.

Just a FYI: Both pianos use sample technology. If your ears are sensitive to that, you will be able to hear the decay loops. Check out the DPBSD thread, there are MP3s of the CN-35 and MP3s that compare HI, PHI and UPHI (predecessor to HI-XL) in there you can listen to.
I also tried the pianoteq-demo (w/o a midi controller I could only klick keys and feed it a few .mid files) and it sounds vastly different.
Posted By: wolflone249

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 10:33 AM

Thank you for your detailed response. 👍🏻

Well, my ears can be very sensitive. But being a little short on change for an acoustic piano, I think I have to look over those little imperfections. It is, after all, digital.

And I did listen to the MP3s that you suggested; I hear what you mean. But... I don’t know... it kind of takes away the atmosphere if I have to hook a Keyboard controller like the VPC1 to a computer, to get an even closer to authentic sound.
I listenend to some of the sample MP3s of their Steinways. Yes, it does sound different. Is it worth the hassle? I need at least a decent sound interface for my computer. And they’re not really cheap to come by.

The sound examples on the Kawai website do sound quite lovely. I do find the ES8 ones a little bit - hm - let’s say crisper for a lack of words.
But then again... sturdiness and overall looks... decisions, decisions.

Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 11:45 AM

Obviously I don't have practical experience, yet, but to me hooking up PTQ seems to be pretty straight forward.
USB cable or Blutooth MIDI to computer -> start Pianoteq -> play.
If you don't route it back, you simply plug your headphones into the computer instead of the digital piano.
If you do, you need a second audio cable from PC -> DP (analog audio).

Should pretty much be a "set up once and forget about the settings" thing.

Ofc I don't know how "hassle free" the whole thing would be in practice, if you start thinking about latency and reliability. That's why I would not feel comfortable buying sth. like the VPC1 and having to rely in VSTs to work.

As for the audio interface, having a Titanium HD (audiophile grade soundcard) that is taken care of and they stand next to each other, so exploring pianoteq in the future is a no-brainer to me. It it doesn't work however, no biggie.

This is why I wanted both: nice onboard sounds AND the connectivity to set up VSTs. After all, sometimes you want to practice quickly and effortlessly, nothing beats just having to press "ON" and start playing. Well, not having to press "ON" would but then we'd be talking about acoustics again. laugh

Personally, I can not hear any difference in videos / samples between CN-37 and ES-8. But then again, you cannot possible judge sth like that from non lossless compressed media. That's why I plan a trip to the store with my Headphones in toe.
Posted By: wolflone249

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 12:16 PM

I hope you can do that by next Friday 😁.
Gonna buy my future piano by then.

But sound itself is a highly personal matter. Before I heard Kawai, I was a Yamaha fan... 😂
Posted By: dmd

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 12:34 PM

Originally Posted by wolflone249
On the other hand the CN37 comes complete with pedals and everything...


You keep alluding to the fact that you have to purchase the pedals separately.

Here is the entire package .....

https://www.kraftmusic.com/kawai-es8-digital-piano-black-complete-home-bundle.html

So that is the number you should be thinking of for the ES8 complete with furniture stand, bench, and pedals.
Posted By: wolflone249

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 12:46 PM

Originally Posted by dmd
You keep alluding to the fact that you have to purchase the pedals separately.
(...)
So that is the number you should be thinking of for the ES8 complete with furniture stand, bench, and pedals.


Thanks for pointing it out, but I did mention that in fact in my first post, albeit not very clearly.😊

Originally Posted by wolflone249
(...)I’m aware of the fact that one is portable. That “feature” isn’t really important to me. The price is almost the same where I live. What I’m really concerned is that the ES8 seems to have the better sound generation system in it. But is the difference between them enough to justify that I would have to buy the stand and pedals in addition to the ES8 itself?I can hear slight differences in the YouTube samples, but those might also be due to compression.(...)
Posted By: BachToTheFuture

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 02:40 PM

Hello I have an ES8 for almost 2 years and I use an ES7 too. Theses two are with a F301 3-pedal unit and the the HM-4 stand.

The main problem is the F301. The distance between keyboard and pedal is far too short (ten centimeters than my acoutic upright).
Il have modified it in order to have 6 cm more but it is too short, it is painfull to play.
This pedal mechanics is ok (very heavy as a real one, and works as a grand one with 1/2)

The HM-4 is a little bit unstable (for playing ragtimes ...).

I only use EX ConcertGrand sound. it is far better and more stereo more spatial, more everything and realistic.

There is a huge difference between headphone sound (Beyerdynamic DT 770 pro), and direct sound (really need amplifier).

The keyboard is ok, no problem after that to play on acoustic grand or upright.
Posted By: dmd

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 03:05 PM

Originally Posted by BachToTheFuture
The main problem is the F301. The distance between keyboard and pedal is far too short (ten centimeters than my acoutic upright).
Il have modified it in order to have 6 cm more but it is too short, it is painfull to play.


FINALLY !!! Someone else experienced that and commented on it. Thank You

I had it but took it off. Could not use it.

In fact, I will give it to anyone who will pay the shipping on it.




I expressed that over a year ago but no-one else seemed to chime in with that experience.

I use the damper pedal (F-10H) that comes with the keyboard and place it where I like it. It works fine.

I would never purchase the F301 3-pedal unit that is an option for it.


So, with that in mind .... You purchase the keyboard and furniture stand (HML4) and bench. Good to go.


With that said ....

I still think the Kawai CN37 would be a good choice, also. It is just a nicer piece of furniture for home use.

All that other technical stuff will soon be forgotten and of much less importance when you are just playing it and not analyzing it.






Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 04:13 PM

Originally Posted by wolflone249
I hope you can do that by next Friday 😁.

Oh boy, considering the purchase is still a few months away for me (Unless I rob a bank. ^_^), I doubt that I will make it to the store that quickly. Sorry.

Originally Posted by wolflone249
But sound itself is a highly personal matter. Before I heard Kawai, I was a Yamaha fan... 😂

I actually quite like the clarity of the CFX.
Which is why trying out the Garritan-CFX VST is tempting.

@BachToTheFuture: Thank you, that essentially closes the book on the ES-8 for me. I already saw the wobbling in the promotional video and was worried. (EU Video cleverly uses a white piano with a white background, so you can barely spot anything :< )

@dmd: Very true, us budget conscious buyers do tend to over-analyze. Esp once we find out, that the "tech limits" are nothing compared to the limits our inexperienced hands will impose on us. laugh
Posted By: wolflone249

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 04:34 PM

Well, before my head bursts and I can’t use it anymore for learning, I took the dive and ordered a bundle, of which the CN37 is part of. It includes a bench (height-adjustable) and some Philips phones (guess I use them for... collecting dust I suppose).

Before anyone asks for the price, here it is: roughly converted it would be US$ 1’660.-

If anyone is interested, I can keep you posted here, when the delivery has been made.


Thanks sll of you, for your opinions, advices.
Great community here!
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 05:24 PM

Congrats on your decision. laugh
I'd definitely be interested to hear your thoughts after experiencing the CN-37 in your home.
Posted By: dmd

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 09:25 PM

Originally Posted by wolflone249
Well, before my head bursts and I can’t use it anymore for learning, I took the dive and ordered a bundle, of which the CN37 is part of. It includes a bench (height-adjustable) and some Philips phones (guess I use them for... collecting dust I suppose).

Before anyone asks for the price, here it is: roughly converted it would be US$ 1’660.-

If anyone is interested, I can keep you posted here, when the delivery has been made.


Thanks sll of you, for your opinions, advices.
Great community here!


I think you have made the right decision.

And ... the phones ? Useless ? I think not.

In fact, that is where you may get your finest sound.

Also ... In the early stages of your learning, they can come in handy when playing within earshot of other human beings ... LOL

Enjoy smile
Posted By: wolflone249

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/18/17 10:24 PM

That is true @dmd. 😁

As far as the headphones go... I already got a decent pair. But yeah, I'll keep them as backups. Never can have enough headphones.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/19/17 09:22 AM

Originally Posted by dmd
And ... the phones ? Useless ? I think not.

In fact, that is where you may get your finest sound.

Highly dependent on the quality of the HPs.

If you are used to a Beyerdynamic DT-880 like me, you do tend to develop a "snob" attitude that prevents you from enjoying music from cheap sound sources. These days I prefer silence over some crappy speaker throwing distorted notes at me. Esp infuriating if my mother wants to "show" me something on a smartphone speaker. Them damn high frequencies are downright painful. >.<

Originally Posted by dmd
Also ... In the early stages of your learning, they can come in handy when playing within earshot of other human beings ... LOL

Yeah... I can't count the times at which I have wished to be able to plug a pair of HPs into my flute (e.g. 2nd and 3rd register longtone practice).
Alas, no can do. Best to live out ones own sadistic tendencies and try to enjoy inflicting pain on others. laugh
Posted By: wolflone249

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/19/17 06:56 PM

Originally Posted by Granyala
These days I prefer silence over some crappy speaker throwing distorted notes at me. Esp infuriating if my mother wants to "show" me something on a smartphone speaker. Them damn high frequencies are downright painful. >.<


(Warning: contains sarcasm and a pinch of salt):
How dare you to insult the HiFi sound quality of various overpriced smartphones? And yes, I left the others out intentionally, because they don’t boast with it.
Posted By: GoldmanT

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 11/22/17 10:30 PM

I got the CN35 almost a year ago and love it - the Mellow Piano sound with cathedral reverb is lush, that's what sold me over the other brands. It's in my lounge so didn't want a stage piano, speakers, wires, laptop etc. Might try a VST or pianoteq in the future but with the Kawai I can sit down and two seconds later it's ready to play, and my current laptop probably wouldn't run them anyway. :p
Posted By: Jitin

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/05/17 07:06 PM

do you plan to use the VST only through headphones, or external monitors?

IF you plan to use external monitors I'd recommend getting CN37, and not the vst , because external piano speakers don't make me feel connected to the instrument in a studio/home setting, as much as internal speakers

I had a cp33 with studio monitors, I ended up selling it to get a board with internal speakers (p155), though only 12 w X 2 , the p155 was more enjoyable, than studio monitors.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/05/17 07:46 PM

Yes, routing audio from my PC into the DP when using VSTs was the plan.
While I know that studio monitors can be better, I have no interest to fiddle with optimal placement, nor do I have the space flexibility to do so.

CN37 should be a compact and still nice looking package that has all I need for the next few years.
Posted By: Jitin

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/05/17 08:38 PM

studio monitors are NOT better for piano playing, internal piano speakers is better experience for the player.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/05/17 09:02 PM

Originally Posted by Jitin
studio monitors are NOT better for piano playing, internal piano speakers is better experience for the player.

That depends on the quality of the speakers, both built in and monitor and obviously, personal taste.

While it would be pretty hard and expensive to outperform the LX-17s speaker system or a CA-98's soundboard, a good pair of monitors will squash the 2x 15W downward mounted speakers of the e.g.: HP601. Not just in terms of watts but in terms of frequency response and clarity.
Posted By: Alexander Borro

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/05/17 09:17 PM

Originally Posted by Jitin
studio monitors are NOT better for piano playing, internal piano speakers is better experience for the player.


You make it sound like a hard fact, but to each their own, I feel the other way round mostly, but in the end it is for each and every person to decide for themselves. While the higher consoles do a decent job in some respects. I personally find the speaker cabinets problematic out of all the ones I tried in shops, they always sound boxed in, bass boom issues too, and cannot project spatial imaging at all well, not surprising when you consider the comprises they make for a speaker to work optimally to project well, you wouldn't configure them that way as they are in many consoles in an almost sealed box and just leave a tiny gap for the sound to come out.

The LX17 was one exception with lid open I noticed, but something like a kawai Ca67 ( though it has some upfiring speakers ), but lets say middle of the road model cost wise ( I never tried one with a soundboard like the CA97/98 so can't comment) but I wouldn't swap it in the world with a decent monitor setup coupled with VST. Something like an hp 603 with a 2x2 speaker just firing down underneath only, I didn't like it one bit, no presence or spaciousness to the sound at all, like putting your radio under a rug or something like that.

Sure while monitor don't project like the real thing, with a good setup, appropriate panning and imaging you get from them, I can feel the sound coming at me in a direct unobstructed manner, as if the lid were open properly, I prefer this feeling.
Posted By: dmd

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/05/17 11:41 PM

Originally Posted by Granyala
Yes, routing audio from my PC into the DP when using VSTs was the plan.
While I know that studio monitors can be better, I have no interest to fiddle with optimal placement, nor do I have the space flexibility to do so.

CN37 should be a compact and still nice looking package that has all I need for the next few years.


Good For You !!!

Keep it neat and simple and spend more time playing instead of fooling with accessories and such.
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/07/17 05:30 PM

Slightly off topic:
I managed to test out an RH3 and a GF2 piano today.

Man, I really should not have tried the CA-78. >.<

I understand now what people mean when they talk about "bouncyness" and noise of the RH3. The keys bounce quite a bit and they are noticeably loud when they bounce back UP unter their own weight, where GF2 was dead silent.

I didn't expect the difference in feel to be that harsh. They get the CA48 in the end of December/Beginning of January, so I'll definitely check that one out.
Having felt RH3 and GF2, I am in a pretty mean dilemma now, because GF2 felt so much nicer. smirk

Maybe GF-C will come to the rescue and I simply go "screw extras and connectivity"....
Kawai, you definitely do not make the decision between CN-37 and CA-48 easy!

PS: Piano salesmen are damn scary. They talk you to death and try very hard to pressure you into buying stuff waaay past your budget. Dude kept drooling over a Casio GP500 sth.... yah advertise a piano in the 4K range when I am talking about a sub 2K budget. That makes sense. laugh
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/19/17 03:59 PM

A small update from me, because I promised a comparison between HI-XL and PHI:
Spent 2hrs in a shop today and played both ES8 and CN37.

The ES 8 sounds gentler and more alive compared to the CN37. There is a distinct difference between PHI and HI-XL, contrary to my initial speculations, even an untrained ear can hear the difference immediately.

Both me and my mother, who was kind enough to endure the 2hrs so I got the luxury of another pair of ears, preferred the ES8 from the first key press on.
We tried both, speakers and headphones on both models.

If anyone is in the market: definitely compare HI-XL to PHI. There is a difference, only you can decide which one you like more.

For me: the CN37 didn't make the race. ES-8 sounds more pleasing to my ears and, seeing it in person made me realize that it is quite a bit smaller, a perk, considering my super tiny one room apartment.
Posted By: brooster

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/20/17 07:39 PM

In the U.S. of A. AZ Piano Reviews can give you a good price on a ES8 with pedals and stand.

AZ Piano review of Kawai ES8
Posted By: Granyala

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/20/17 07:53 PM

Thanks, but I am located in Germany.

I'm gunning for an MP7SE now, which has the same sounds and action b/c it has more to toy with in addition to piano. laugh

Unless that conference in January reveals new models within my budget range. *chuckles*
Posted By: dmd

Re: In need of advice / Kawai ES8 & CN37 - 12/20/17 08:26 PM

If you go with the ES8, I would caution you AGAINST the 3-pedal option you have for it.

I (and others) have found that that unit puts the pedals too close to the person playing the piano.

It makes it uncomfortable to keep your foot relaxed when not using the pedal.

I would just utilize the pedal that comes with the ES8 (no extra charge).

Get the furniture stand, of course.

Good Luck to you
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