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Hello - forum newbie here hoping for some opinions on a digital piano choice.

I took piano lessons for a few years in grade school and took a class at college, but I haven't had a piano to play on for 4 years since then. It feels like past time to get one, and since I have roommates and limited space (and expect to be moving in a year for grad school), it has to be digital.

After reading and listening online and trying some models in store, I've narrowed it down to the Kawai CN33 and the Yamaha P155. I would look into the Kawai EP3 as well, but I haven't found one in my area and won't buy a piano without trying it. I like the CN33 better for how much it looks/feels/sounds like a piano (seems like a lighter, more responsive touch, and the sound from the speakers seemed impressive); and I do tend to be biased toward Kawai, because between the acoustic Kawais and Yamahas I've played, I much preferred the Kawais. But I like the portability of the P155, it feels pretty good (I want to say it's more like an upright, which is what I'm used to), and the price is compelling.

I tried the CN23 as well, by the way (salesman was trying pretty hard to sell me that one). It feels and sounds very much like the 33, but between the awkward interface, lack of usb, and open space in the back of the cabinet (but mainly the interface), it's a compromise I don't want to make.

Is there anything else I should be considering? Are there likely to be successors to these models the day after I buy? wink If you considered both of these pianos, what tipped your decision one way or the other?

If style makes a difference, I tend to like playing classical and rags, and there's some contemporary stuff I want to learn for kicks (game and movie themes).

Oh, and a question about the P155: an old friend who's worked for a Yamaha dealer for a few years insists that the sound in this video can't be from a P155 or at least that it's "definitely manipulated": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDY8jLYnL0I ...what do you think?

Cheers!

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I generally consider the CN33 to be a higher end piano than the P155. Unless you are going to actually move the piano around all the time or the difference in cost is a major concern, I think the CN33 probably dominates.

Having said that, an RH action is an RH action. You might consider the new Kawai ES7, which has the same action (only with a third sensor) and portability on par with the P155. You have already basically tried that one, if you have tried the CN33.

I wouldn't necessarily assume the sound in the video is not from the stock P155. You can do a lot to modify sounds by tweaking the reverb and mellow/bright settings. It doesn't sound much like the default settings, but that doesn't mean much. Of course, doctoring or rendering in a different voice is also a strong possibility.

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Arestelle, the Kawai EP3 is lower specification version of the ES6. Unlike the ES6, the EP3 is typically sold online or at musical instrument chain stores, and
I believe is priced to compete directly with the Yamaha P155.

The CN33 is a much higher specification instrument than the Yamaha P155, and is probably comparable to the Yamaha CLP-430 in terms of price and features.

Aside from the models mentioned above, you may also wish to consider a Roland model such as the RP-301 or portable FP-4F/FP-7F.

As gvfarns notes, the new Kawai ES7 was announced a couple of weeks ago and should start arriving in dealers stores early next month. This instrument offers a vast improvement over the previous ES6, and will be a very strong competitor against the Roland FP-7F.

Really, there are a number of excellent digital pianos from the main manufacturers that will suit your needs. However, I recommend that you first decide upon whether you wish to purchase a portable or console (i.e. not portable) instrument, and then set yourself a maximum budget. This will undoubtedly help with the decision making process, and no doubt garner additional suggestions from other PianoWorld members.

Best of luck with your search!

Cheers,
James
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Arestelle, a few months ago I came to the same conclusion as you with regards to a DP. In the end I went with a used P155 as it was for me a second piano primarily so I could play at night with headphones. If it were to be my primary instrument I think I would have gone with the Kawai. But the Cn33 was double the price of a new P155 so I preferred to get a good instrument but save a bit towards an upgrade to my acoustic (which I haven't done yet).

I've been happy with the P155 and have had no problems. It has a nice touch (yes heavier than the kawai) but I enjoy playing on it and do not find it clunky. I did really like the kawai though.

Perhaps to help you decide on what to choose think about how you will use the piano, if you need portability, your budget, and how long you expect to keep it (ie. Is this the only piano you plan to buy or do you expect to upgrade shortly?)

Either way just make sure you are really happy with the feel of the keyboard and the sounds. If it's not a joy to play you won't play it!

Good luck. I think you'd be pretty happy with either of them! I think the Kawai sounds way better through it's internal speakers. Think about that too if that's how you will be using the dp.

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Thank you all! I know I'm kind of comparing apples and kumquats between these two.

I started looking at pianos thinking I don't want to spend more than $1200-1300 total and found the P155; if I go over that, it'll be for a console. (ES7 would probably fall in between that & the CN33, right?) And if I get a console, I don't want to wind up feeling like I compromised; with the CN33, I wouldn't, so that's how I've landed on these two choices. Having looked through the DP Prices Paid thread, I have a sense of what people here have paid for the CN33 and something around the average would be my max for that...or maybe even a little lower. I feel like I appreciate the positives of each type of piano about equally right now, which is why it's a tough choice.

ZoeCalgary, how does the p155 sound to you on headphones vs through the speakers? I haven't been able to test how it sounds through headphones (don't have anything but earbuds currently so none to take with me to GC for trying that one). ...With the CN33, when I sat down, put the store's (mediocre) headphones on, and started playing, I had to take the headphones back off a couple times before I could believe the sound wasn't coming from the speakers... Somehow it sounded/felt, spatially, just like I'd expect without headphones. Not sure how, but I was impressed.

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Originally Posted by Arestelle
Hello - forum newbie here hoping for some opinions on a digital piano choice.


I have the P155. What I bought it I figure it was the lowest priced piano with acceptable (to me) key action and sound. If I had been willing to spend twice as much I have a Roland FP7F.

But after you sort the pianos into two heaps (acceptable and not) all of them are good and you will learn to pay equally fast on any of them.

However I think you will practice more on the instrument you like

One more thing. This will be the FIRST piano you buy not the LAST piano you buy. You will upgrade later.

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You're right in that the P-155 doesn't sound quite like Kyle Landry's glorious recordings may lead one to believe, but that being said, it is quite enjoyable - especially when you're forced to use headphones (or just want to better isolate/appreciate the sound) as you often find yourself doing when you own a digital piano. I also believe it has the best hammer action for a sub-$1000 digital piano

I'm happy with mine and don't know that I could justify paying twice the cost give or take (guitar center often runs coupons which happen to apply to in-store p-155 purchases) of what I did as a non-professional or for a non-acoustic

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Originally Posted by Bobpickle
I also believe it has the best hammer action for a sub-$1000 digital piano



I wish it was same price in Europe. It costs 1100 € (1375$) in my local store, maybe you can get it for 1000 € over internet. Still I agree with you - P155 is excellent value for the money, it's clear winner for me as my next DP (from DGX 640, which I like a lot).


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I didn't get to compare the 2 on headphones unfortunately so I can't comment. I really liked the sound of the Kawai through speakers so I imagine that it would sound really good through a good pair of headphones.

I guess try both pianos and then you may be more clear on whether the extra cost of the Kawai is worth it to you.

Keep us posted on what you ultimately choose! Good luck.

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Thanks, everyone smile

Going to go back to the Kawai dealer probably tomorrow to see what kind of deal they'll offer. Salesman claims their asking price for CN33 is a 'rock-bottom sale price' (it's nearly $2000) but says they have a 'teachers & nonprofits' discount (of unspecified amount) and 'may be able to pretend' I'm one of those things. salesmen = ugh. :S

It'll have to be a really good deal for me to buy--better than I suspect I'll be able to get, but I'll give it a shot.

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Here's my recording with the p155: http://k005.kiwi6.com/hotlink/nnrtvmw55t/piano_guitar_bluesman.mp3

And yes, P-155 sound quite like Kyle Landry's glorious recordings, because like it or not, is the sound of the P155.

Stretched, looped, and with it's all limitations, it's a beautifull and expressive tone for 1000 euros.


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Originally Posted by Arestelle
Thanks, everyone smile

Going to go back to the Kawai dealer probably tomorrow to see what kind of deal they'll offer. Salesman claims their asking price for CN33 is a 'rock-bottom sale price' (it's nearly $2000) but says they have a 'teachers & nonprofits' discount (of unspecified amount) and 'may be able to pretend' I'm one of those things. salesmen = ugh. :S
.


So in other words, it's not a rock bottom price. This whole teachers discount thing is a scam - no piano store is a non-profit organisation. No teachers/non-profit purchase is subsidised by the government to reimburse the store. You should be able to get the same price (or even lower) - and you will if you play hardball.

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Good luck with yor visit to the kawai shop. The best price I saw was $1995. The highest I saw was $2295. I found there was no deals. There is only 1 kawai shop in my city so pretty much no competition.

Just don't forget to play it for as long as you want and try it with headphones. I found dealing with trying to get a fair price detracted me from actually trying the instrument and I had to go back! Crazy! Still though when I was ready to buy there was movement on price (even after the we'll see what we can do story!)

Best of luck to you!

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Wow, I was just browsing around Thomann's website out of curiosity b/c it seems a number of European posters have bought their DPs there. How are their prices so low? It was saying that a set-up of the CN33 is EUR1205/US$1506 (with headphones, bench, usb, and delivery) - obviously that's before import duties and VAT (is that added to overseas orders?) and the cc company's foreign transaction fee, but even with all that it seems no higher than many local prices. Looked like EUR1365/US$1706 for someone in, e.g., the UK. Too bad I'm not in Europe? :P

Anyway, I have my max in mind for when I go back to the dealer today, so we'll see if he'll accept it; it's definitely lower than the average people have reported here. If no dice, p155 it'll be.

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Well, the salesman wouldn't go below $1798 and claims that Kawai won't let them sell for less than that. Of course, he also tried to convince me that the P155 has a lower-end action than GHS, and that the P155 is more or less crap and I'll "be back here in 3 months" looking for something better if I get that. In as friendly a tone as he could, to be sure, but that doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the accuracy of his statements. And smack-talking a piano you don't even have your facts straight on? Sad.

Anyway, they wouldn't come close to my price, so I'm going to get a P155. Maybe I'll buy some new piano books with a tiny bit of the money I save. smile


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