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There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)

There are unfortunately few places where one can audition all three instruments side by side. However, we can share the results of auditions by pianoworld members here. Especially for those of us planning purchase this year, it will be good to share both shopping experiences and what our actual choice was.


Has anyone played all three side by side?

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How do you pick the top three? For example when you say "VPiano trickle down", wouldn't that imply that the VPiano should be on the list. Also with the Yamaha, the CP5 might be Yamaha's best offering. At least it has "today's Technology" For about $2,600.

But many people will say that today's best piano sounds are done in softwre

My guess is that you will never be able to make a top five list that everyone will agree on unless you constrain it with many conditions and limit the price.

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Well the constraint is "cabinet-style digital pianos".

We are probably at a point where the best from the big three are more evenly matched than ever before with differences appealing only to taste rather than outright good, better, best type of judgments. I too would like to hear about playing impressions from someone who might've played them side-by-side.

Cheers,

Steve

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Originally Posted by theJourney
There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

ChrisA smile You’re a very strong stage piano advocate lol… and hence miss the above.

Anyway Chris, what’s your opinion of the Yamaha GH3 or NW action compare to the Roland’s PHAII or PHAIII if they are available? Or anyone who have tried them, what do you think?

I drove almost 110 miles round trip yesterday trying to test a CA61/91. Bummer, the dealer closed on Sunday mad Didn’t think some stores closed Sundays, should have called before going.

Anyway, after repeated tries each the HP-207, CLP-340 (GH3) and CLP-380 (NW). I must say, GH3 & NW actions are a little bouncy compare to a Yamaha Grand action. PHAII of the HP-207 isn’t as much. I always thought I’d get a CLP after I get a chance to try either a CA61 or CA91 but now… I will probably have a change of heart.

What are your thoughts?


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Originally Posted by theJourney

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)

There are unfortunately few places where one can audition all three instruments side by side.

If you visit Tokyo, you can try all of them side by side in Yodobashi-Akiba.
I tried all of them.

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There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

ChrisA smile You’re a very strong stage piano advocate lol… and hence miss the above.
[/quote]

You asked for opinion. That is what follows Totally non-objective opinions...

The problem is two fold, You pay a lot of money for plastic laminated particle board. If these cabinets were made with the same quality as acoustic pianos it would be different. But these "cabinet" pianos have all the style and build quality as Ikea. Second, It seems that the major companies right now are putting their best efforts in to the v-piano, CP1/5/50.

Also I'd not call any Casio or Yamaha P series DP a "stage Piano" these are sold to home users mostly.

As for Yamaha's "wood" keys. They aren't. Their plastic keys are hollow, all they've done is replace the air in side with wood. The mechanism is the same. Kawai is different. Their wood keys are actually long rockers like on a grand and use a different design from thier plastic action

My opinion of the keys, for what it's worth, is that Roland's "PHA II With ivory feel and escapement" is as good as it gets. Maybe the PHA III version is better but they are so close it's hard to know. But any Yamaha keys GH or better are pretty good. It think the GH and GH3 are really the same (but Yamaha will never come out and say this directly) Lastly I say all Kawai keys are very good.

I've not seen a CP1/5 yet but people here are saying the key action is very light. This is what I'd expect on a Piano that is favouring e-piano and synth sounds.

I'm surprised you say the Yamaha keys are more "bouncy" then Roland's. I thought Yamaha keys were damped" with some friction and it was the Roland keys where you could more directly feel the hammer weights, kind of like a see-saw.

So now what we are looking for here is what? The best console style DP with price under $3K. That does narrow the range down quite a bit.

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Originally Posted by theJourney


- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)


Glad we're starting this playoff of yesterday's and trickle down technology without any subjective opinions.


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Originally Posted by mezzo-poor
Originally Posted by theJourney

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)

There are unfortunately few places where one can audition all three instruments side by side.

If you visit Tokyo, you can try all of them side by side in Yodobashi-Akiba.
I tried all of them.


You can be the first substantive contributor. I am not sure what your priorities are, so I will share mine to see how you believe they stacked up:

1. Realistic keyboard feel and action; pleasure to play; great for classical music; as good or better as upright for silent practice
2. Responsive, expressive, dynamically responsive, realistic sound; "alive" sounding modeled(?), sympathetic resonance like real piano; Debussy proof
3. Stability and strength; feels like real, solid instrument including real pedals
4. Realistic and versatile other voices
5. Ability to record, layer and play one-man jazz ensembles with USB or CD
6. Decent in built speaker system that can stand up to playing piano duets next to a grand

Mind sharing which piano you would place in position 1,2 or 3 for these?

Last edited by theJourney; 02/01/10 02:31 PM.
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Originally Posted by theJourney


- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)


Glad we're starting this playoff of yesterday's and trickle down technology without any subjective opinions.


I have played the Yamaha 380 and heard their spiel several times and this was the best I could come up with. That is why I put the question mark. If anyone can tell me what the Unique Selling Proposition of the 380 is, I will gladly change it. The only thing I could think of besides what I wrote was: sharp & solid.

As to the VPiano trickle down on the HP307, that seems to be a very good thing and something that Roland is pushing. Who doesn't want to have the responsiveness and aliveness of the VPiano in a complete package for half the price?

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Originally Posted by ChrisA
You asked for opinion. That is what follows Totally non-objective opinions...
This is great, Chris. We have a lot of experts or experienced Pianists here like you, who devote a lot of time and efforts into testing and researching DPs to help out inexperienced or new to DP shoppers. We can’t thank enough. But I’m sure the purpose of this thread is to compare only the 3 cabinet-style DPs mentioned. Some of us, me for instance, don’t mind paying a little extra for these fake, plastic laminated board things. I guess it’s just a matter of personal taste. If I already have a grand, I wouldn’t care for another console DP.

Quote
Also I'd not call any Casio or Yamaha P series DP a "stage Piano" these are sold to home users mostly.
What do I know right? I thought the more portable DPs that aren’t console/cabinet-style are considered either Portable or Stage smile

Quote
My opinion of the keys, for what it's worth, is that Roland's "PHA II With ivory feel and escapement" is as good as it gets. Maybe the PHA III version is better but they are so close it's hard to know. But any Yamaha keys GH or better are pretty good. It think the GH and GH3 are really the same (but Yamaha will never come out and say this directly) Lastly I say all Kawai keys are very good.
I’m still not clear here. So personally, you’d have PHAII/PHAIII 1st, Kawai 2nd and GH(3) 3rd or GH(3) 2nd and Kawai 3rd?

Quote
I'm surprised you say the Yamaha keys are more "bouncy" then Roland's. I thought Yamaha keys were damped" with some friction and it was the Roland keys where you could more directly feel the hammer weights, kind of like a see-saw.
This is just me personally. When I played a Yamaha Grand, the keys kind of follow my fingers back. Then I played the CLP the keys are a bit jumpy. They bounce back into my fingers instead of follow back. The HP does the same, but not as much. It’s a shame I couldn’t test a CA61/91 yesterday. I will have to make another hundred mile round trip again. Yuck…

Quote
So now what we are looking for here is what? The best console style DP with price under $3K. That does narrow the range down quite a bit.
I hope not for the purpose of this thread. Let’s stick to the playoff of these 3 flagships: CLP-380, HP-307 and CA93. Then let individual DP shoppers decide if they want a flagship or go down to its siblings to meet their budgets and needs on their own, maybe in some other means and threads?

For example, I will probably like PHAIII action of the HP-307. Then let me decide if I can get the HP-307 or go down to one of its siblings (HP-303/207/203) as my wallet allows. If I decide to go down to say the HP-207, then I’ll study, research for prices, features etc… separately.


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Quote

6. Decent in built speaker system that can stand up to playing piano duets next to a grand

Mind sharing which piano you would place in position 1,2 or 3 for these?


That last requirement #6 will likely eliminate all but the most expensive "mini-grand" style DPs. Certainly none of the console style DPs would quality. Not unless you added a large external sound system to them.

If you want a DP to be as acoustically powerful as a grand it is going to have to approach the size and weight of a grand. There is just not enough room on the console size cabinet for speakers



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I’m still not clear here. So personally, you’d have PHAII/PHAIII 1st, Kawai 2nd and GH(3) 3rd or GH(3) 2nd and Kawai 3rd?


I left it a little un-clear on purpose because I don't think there is a clear ranking. I do think the top of the line Roland keys are the best. But I also think that once you reach a certain level of "good enough" then it is just a mater of which you like and I think all Kawai and Yamaha's GH and better keys are "good enough"


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It would be remissed to list out "top of the line" cabinet style digital pianos and not mention the Yamaha Avant-Grand N2 upright, although it's a lot more expensive than the 3 mentioned and is in a class of its own, so wouldn't be a comparable review against the other 3.

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Originally Posted by Volusiano
One would be remissed to list out "top of the line" cabinet style digital pianos and not mention the Yamaha Avant-Grand N2, although it's a lot more expensive than the 3 mentioned and is in a class of its own, so wouldn't be a comparable review against the other 3.

Maybe we should ask one of the Moderators to change the title of this thread to "Official Top of Line Console DPs: CLP-380 vs. HP-307 vs. CA93 Playoff Thread”? If you agree, I will volunteer to ask.

Volusiano, I envy you. I play the AG yesterday. It just blows me away as far as DPs go. I can’t say the same once I touch a 30+k Yamaha Grand though smile But boy, what an instrument! I’d get one if it’s not way way out of my range.


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Originally Posted by Nguyen
Originally Posted by Volusiano
One would be remissed to list out "top of the line" cabinet style digital pianos and not mention the Yamaha Avant-Grand N2, although it's a lot more expensive than the 3 mentioned and is in a class of its own, so wouldn't be a comparable review against the other 3.

Maybe we should ask one of the Moderators to change the title of this thread to "Official Top of Line Console DPs: CLP-380 vs. HP-307 vs. CA93 Playoff Thread”? If you agree, I will volunteer to ask.

Volusiano, I envy you. I play the AG yesterday. It just blows me away as far as DPs go. I can’t say the same once I touch a 30+k Yamaha Grand though smile But boy, what an instrument! I’d get one if it’s not way way out of my range.


Hi Nguyen, it's no big deal to change the title of the thread. I just find the "top of the line" phrase a little misleading so I thought I'd chime in.

If you strictly look at list prices for the AGs ($20K for N3 and $15K for N2), it'll scare most people away right off the bat. But list prices don't mean anything, and they can be had for a lot less if you're serious enough to bargain with the dealers. I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.

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I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.


Did you make an entry in the "prices paid" thread?

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Originally Posted by theJourney
There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)



I think the TOP OF THE LINE is in fact the Avant Grand


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Originally Posted by ChrisA
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I came in to try out the N3 just for fun 6 months ago like you, thinking no way I could afford one for $20K, but I ended up buying one on the same day because the dealer came very close to meeting my low-ball offer.

Did you make an entry in the "prices paid" thread?

Yup, an entry in the "prices paid" thread would be nice but for such high priced instruments, I guess one wouldn't be as comfortable sharing its cost. For example, if I get a grand for 20k, I guess I wouldn't want to share but for a 3k DP, I would have no hesitation. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, Volusiano, thanks for sharing your shopping experience. I think I’m in the 4k or less range. Even if the N2 sells for half its price 8k, my lady would kick my “you know what” if I just mention its name & price. If I want to get one, she’d probably kick me out of the house… for good LOL. laugh


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Originally Posted by Dr Popper
I think the TOP OF THE LINE is in fact the Avant Grand

Yes Dr Popper. It absolutely is. I think the title of the thread is indeed misleading.


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Originally Posted by Dr Popper
Originally Posted by theJourney
There are three top of line cabinet-style digital pianos on or entering the market this Spring, each with its claim to fame:

- Kawai CA93: RM3 wooden keyboard & improved sound
- Roland HP307: VPiano trickle down: PHAIII & improved expressivity
- Yamaha CLP380: Yesterday's technology today at Yamaha prices(?)




I think the TOP OF THE LINE is in fact the Avant Grand


And well it should be, Doc. Roland's V-Piano is not included because it is a stage piano, but the Avant Grand is the top of the line Yamaha with speakers built in.

Roland must make a top of the range grand style cabinet, and Kawai as well, but perhaps it would be an unfair comparison since the Avant Grand is on a whole other level above anything else.

Betcha the CP-1's technology winds up in a top of the line CLP piano....with the GH3 action...t'will be a killer for sure.

Snazzy


Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)
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