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I was recently strongly considering the Kawai ES-6. Fell for the higher end Roland RD700SX (got one on closeout pricing). My final 4 were the ES-6, the KAWAI MP5 (essentially the same sounds but more of a midi controller and without speakers), a Casio PX-320, the Roland RD700 series or 300, even tried the FP4 (I know that more than 4 finalists)

My assessment: Kawai ES-6 and MP5 have greater piano touch and the finest sound. Did not - like the bass on the Kawai's. Since I use split often, in this case my voting leaned toward Roland (deep rich acoustic bass). I have had several Roland keyboards, and most recently an FP5. This stuff is rugged. I went with the RD700SX since it had the rugged attribute, better bass, and although the piano sound was not quit as good as Kawai, the action (although different) was comprable
- to me being able to lightly touch the keys and get a delicate sound is big. For many keyboards, you tend to drop into the note when you touch the keys - Not good.

I did specifically try an ES-6 and FP-7. The FP7 is notably more costly, and has a lighter action than the ES-6, and between these two I think the piano sound, and action vote would go to KAWAI - but would need to consider Roland reliability (I have no idea what that might be for KAWAI)
Otherwise, ES-6 and FP-7 both seem to have a lot of similar funcionality.

As a point of interest, for me, if the Roland RD700SX beast gets too heavy to lug around for gigs (55lbs), the CASIO PX-320 would likely at around 30lbs be the gig keyboard (decent piano sound and action - although not considered the most 'rugged' piano).

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I wish I could find ES-6 to try out. I did try FP-7 few times and I like it but I think it's overpriced. How much did you see the ES-6 for when you were comparing them?

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FWIW, I own and love a Roland FP5. I've played an FP7 (very briefly in a noisy environment), and like it even better. It does weigh more than I would like for transporting (I don't know how it compares to the ES6).

I would check out key noise when using the headphones. Some people object to my practicing with headphones because the keynoise is noticeable. Also, I'd be concerned with the way the keys bottom out. That is, at the end of key travel, how hard do you hit the bottom. Depending on your style, if you play vigorously you could hit the bottom regularly resulting in fatigue or even physical problems (so I'm told).


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If finding the ES6 remains a problem, you may try auditioning the EP3. It may be available at Guitar Center. That would give you both an idea how it feels and how it compares to the Roland. The Kawai dealer locater might help you narrow down your choices, as well. http://www.kawaius.com/nav_links/dealer_locator.htm

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Ozzman, good point - depending on where the individual is located, it may be easier to find an EP3 for auditioning the key touch.

Note however that, while the ES6 and EP3 share the same keyboard action, the ES6 is the superior instrument in terms of its tone generating hardware.

Kind regards,
James
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REMEMBER YOU MUUUUST tell us what you got!

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I promise to Oblacone.

I've only gone and confused myself a little more though by wondering if I should go without the built in speakers and get the Kawai MP5 instead. frown Reason being, I'd love the ES-6, if only it had better organs. Wurly, Hammond, Rhodes etc.

But then that opens up a whole can of worms, in that I've opened up the list of possibilites... Roland RD700GX etc. Mind you that would take it up a jump in price. Again.

I have to make a decision soon as my friend will want his board back.

I love the ES-6 touch and piano samples over the FP-7 but it falls short with the organs.

I don't suppose anyone knows of a keyboard with in-built speakers that has great action/piano/organ all in one that I have missed somehow?

I have a little off topic question. When people write about "after-touch" in their reviews... what does that mean?

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I KNOW I WONDER ABOUT THE EXCAT SAME THING! after touch.. sound so professional

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I have own the FP-7 for over a year now and the only thing I am conscious of is the noise that the keys generate. When I play with my headphones on my wife goes nuts cos she can hear nothing but does hear the keys!

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Originally Posted by Ragtime Clown
I have own the FP-7 for over a year now and the only thing I am conscious of is the noise that the keys generate. When I play with my headphones on my wife goes nuts cos she can hear nothing but does hear the keys!


well there isn't too much that can be done is there?

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Originally Posted by sproutmonkey


I don't suppose anyone knows of a keyboard with in-built speakers that has great action/piano/organ all in one that I have missed somehow?


I think there are a lot of us out there who have been waiting for that perfect all-in-one board - so far in vain. BUT...

I currently have a GEM Prp800. In terms of sound and action, I really cannot praise this board enough. The pianos and eps are vibrant and expressive, and the action is about the fastest I've come across in a fully weighted keyboard. On the organ front, the percussive 'B3' sound is good - but only within the central range; it seems like they took one or two samples and subdivided across the entire keyboard. There is no 'Leslie' but the tremolo is effective on the organ samples (which seem to have a faint rotary effect embedded in the sample as well). The 'Theatre' organ variation is surprisingly usable. There are pipe organs as well.

So, in terms of what you're after, the GEM scores about 2.5 out of 3. Near perfect pianos (and don't forget the excellent clav and harpsichord and beautiful strings), great action, but only half way there with the organs. It does have built-in speakers but these are a let-down - you really need quality amplification with this board. However, it looks great in its brushed aluminum case! Musician's Friend says the GEM will be in stock later this month.

BTW, although the GEM doesn't have after-touch, which you find on some synths, and enables you to activate modulation etc. from key pressure, it does have release samples, which add to the authenticity of the keyboard sounds.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

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Many thanks to everyone who has given their thoughts.

I have decided to go with the Kawai ES 6. I will let you know how I get on with it.

In case it is of interest to anyone, the last time I went in to try out the keyboard, I found out that it has a rotary effect which you can access from and on/off pedal plugged into an input in the back. I'm not sure how to access the rotary effect otherwise, but it was enough give a little more variety to the organ/epiano sounds.

The piano sounds is really impressive from this keyboard and the key action is lovely. I will not be able to do it justice for a while, but when you hear someone who can really play put it through it's paces, it's quite something.

Thanks again to everyone.
Best wishes
Sproutmonkey

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Wow totally awesome!!! i would have gone with the Kawai too laugh but im going for a higher end Kawai DP

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Well aren't you just a lucky thing Oblacone smile One day when I'm a grown up fully fledged keyboard musician, I might go for a higher end one too smile

But I'll wait for my first album release before doing so smile

Thanks again. Especially Oblacone who has been soooooo much help! he he.

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Haha looking forward to that album release grin

Thought of a name yet :P

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sproutmonkey, yes when the rotary speaker effect is enabled, pressing the soft pedal does indeed alternate between fast/slow simulation. This is a characteristic of most KAWAI digital pianos that feature the rotary speaker effect, and I expect is also true of Yamaha and Roland instruments also.

In addition, if a dual pedal unit is not connected to the ES6, it is possible to toggle between slow/fast rotary speaker modes by pushing the up/down VALUE buttons simultaneously.

Good luck with your new instrument!

Kind regards,
James
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Thanks James!!! That's great news. I was hoping there'd be a toggle combination on the keyboard. I'm well chuffed!

Hopefully it won't be long before I get my keyboard. I'm very excited.

Right... now if I could just find a dust cover that fits...

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Hey guys, great thread - i'm currently trying to make a decision between the Kawai MP5, Roland FP4 and Roland FP7.

Originally Posted by kaanengin
Roland and Kawai feels different in terms of action.
I personally like rolands better, because roland action is more softer, but more important things is, roland action feels softer when you hit the bottom. On kawai its like hitting to a wall.
After playing a kawai for 15 minutes, my fingers felt a little bit tired, but playing a roland a couple of hours is possible without any pain.


Originally Posted by sproutmonkey
Funnily enough, I thought the Kawai had softer action than the Roland, so I was very interested to read kaanengin's post. I'm looking forward to seeing what they feel like when I go back.


Just wanted to chime in my 2c here too, funnily enough, I actually would use the exact words kaanengin used to describe the ROLAND rather than the Kawai! I think the FP7 in particular has that 'hitting a wall' feeling with the end of each key press. The FP4 feels soft, and for me the MP5 was possibly somewhere in the middle. I guess this is a bit subjective thoguh and depends on peoples taste!

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