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Hi, I´m new to this forum so please apologyse if I´m opening a non substantial or already existing thread...

Yesterday I received my new Kawai MP11SE which I ordered not being able to test it before in any shop in Madrid but with the conviction that I was getting a high-end keyboard at least in terms of action and pianos sounds and having reviewd many videos of it. My surprise was when I started playing with the piano sounds and found that the sound in my old Nord electro3 sounded better and mainly in the middle pitch or 4th octave. Am I missing something here? I´m playing through a ROLAND KC-550, is it the problem? I know the keyboard has a menu to modify parameters of the sound but I would expect that it comes with a factory preset of pianos already cool but I find them really weak... the electronic pianos sound great however and of course, the key action is really amazing...

Anyway, If any MP11SE owner can give me some advise I would really appreciate it because I´m starting to feel a bit nervous about the purchase...

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I've never gotten good acoustic piano sound out of a Roland keyboard amp. Have you tried listening with headphones? If you don't like the sound through headphones, then you just don't like the sound. If it sounds good through headphones, you probably should upgrade the Roland to a pair of decent near-field monitors, or tweak the sound as much as you can specifically for the Roland amp.


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Hi Pol_piano, welcome to the board!

I second the above suggestion: Please make your sound comparison with good (!) headphones first; then (perhaps) bring in the amp. In addition to that:

a. The piano sounds of a Nord Electro (3 and up) are excellent with the right amplification, so your standard is already quite high. You will surely feel that the action in your new Kawai is much better (and much closer to the real thing). When it comes to sound, however, it may be more a matter of taste, and being used to a particular sound. It may well be that the Kawai's sound will grow on you over time. But the Nord's piano sounds will definitely be (and remain) competitive.

b. Indeed, a keyboard amp does not really cut it for acoustic piano sounds. Go for a pair of (active) speakers, matched to your purpose (in a room? for an audience?).

c. The Kawai allows for fairly wide-ranging modifications of the piano sounds (including EQ and many other sound parameters). Play around with these and see whether you can get a higher satisfaction from your new instrument.

Good luck!


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I have owned the MP11SE and absolutely loved the sounds .... so, as others have suggested.

Get external amp/speakers out of the equation.

Listen with headphones on both the Nord and MP11 and then decide which you enjoy most.

Even the headphones can matter if they are not high quality.

I would not worry that the sounds on the MP11SE are somehow not as good as advertised ... they are.

Last edited by dmd; 10/17/20 11:31 AM.

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Hi to everyone and thanks for your kind answers!

I forgot I had a pair of Yamaha MSP5 speakers and just tried them with the Kawai and now this feels different. Also I tried with the earphones to find that the sound is much better than I realized through the Roland. The thing is that I´m not much of a tech guy and I´m so used to play my old Nord through the Roland that I expected to work also with the Kawai.

Does any of you know if I could improve the sound if I connect the MSP5´s to the Kawai with XLR cables or the standard jack gives the same quality?

Again thanks a lot

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Only think I can think of is the XLR would be balanced.


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I would definitely recommend XLR for long runs but for short runs, I wouldn't worry about it at all.

I'm glad you're feeling better about your purchase smile

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Originally Posted by Pol piano
Hi, I´m new to this forum so please apologyse if I´m opening a non substantial or already existing thread...

Yesterday I received my new Kawai MP11SE which I ordered not being able to test it before in any shop in Madrid but with the conviction that I was getting a high-end keyboard at least in terms of action and pianos sounds and having reviewd many videos of it. My surprise was when I started playing with the piano sounds and found that the sound in my old Nord electro3 sounded better and mainly in the middle pitch or 4th octave. Am I missing something here? I´m playing through a ROLAND KC-550, is it the problem? I know the keyboard has a menu to modify parameters of the sound but I would expect that it comes with a factory preset of pianos already cool but I find them really weak... the electronic pianos sound great however and of course, the key action is really amazing...

Anyway, If any MP11SE owner can give me some advise I would really appreciate it because I´m starting to feel a bit nervous about the purchase...

Sound is subjective: When I first moved received my MP7, it sounded a lot different from my PSR7000 yamaha keyboard. The difference in tone was off-putting and it took me a while to realise that the MP7 sound was a lot more piano like to play due to the improved resonances, the more detailed tone (a subtle thing when you're used to another type of tone altogether) and because the expressiveness was a substantial improvement.

My suggestion is that you look for (bing.com) a pianoworld post by Abbeypianoman. It is about the MP11 but the post contains valuable advice on how to change the Kawai tone to suit a more brighter sound that many Yamaha and Nord owners are more used to. The Kawai sound is warmer, more mellow and less bright than Yamaha and Nord sound. The improved detail will be noticed once your ears get used to the tone difference. Your other choice is to accept that the sound isn't your cup of tea and invest in a VST that makes use of that action.

To put this in perspective for you, I played a Nord Grand for about 2 hours in a store. I found that the sound was nice but the instrument just didn't feel as much like a piano in terms of how it responded and in terms of dynamic expression as my Kawai MP7SE. Now, that for me and also the cost of the Nord Grand validated my earlier choice. Another user here commented he felt the same way. He also owned a Kawai.

This is a problem for all instrument owners: one gets used to and conditioned by the sound of the instrument and the action of the instrument you own. Changing instrument can and perhaps is bound to take time in order to shake that conditioning. It can take me lots of repeat plays of an album before it grows on me; however, sometimes it never grows on me. Not a lot of people would move from a Nord to an MP11SE as the two boards are really at opposite ends of the spectrum: THE MP11SE is for people who want action and realism over user interface, over gigging functionality etc., it is quality of the sounds it has combined with the nicer action that niches the instrument. If you don't like the sound but want the action, the obvious move is to use a VST to get something that sounds way better than the Nord e.g., Garritan CFX grand.

Sorry, didn't read your bit about the monitors.

Yes, you should perhaps upgrade the monitors to something befitting the instrument: Neumann KH120's would be ideal.

Last edited by Doug M.; 10/17/20 04:46 PM.

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Mess with the EQ and reverb to start. Then the Virtual Technician. I love Kawai, and prefer the EX over the SK... the bass in both is a bit muddy. For sure the action is much better than the Nord, IMO.


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Originally Posted by maurus
. . .

c. The Kawai allows for fairly wide-ranging modifications of the piano sounds (including EQ and many other sound parameters). Play around with these and see whether you can get a higher satisfaction from your new instrument.

Good luck!

+1.

Adjusting the 'Piano Technician' (or whatever Korg calls the EQ (and other parameters) is free.

You may find that there is no way to precisely match the Nord E3 piano sounds, with the MP11se. Then, you will have to ask two questions:

. . . (a) Are the sounds of the E3 really _better_ than the MP11se,
. . . . . or are they just what you are used to hearing?

. . . (b) Can I live with the MP11se sounds?


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Originally Posted by IosPlayer
Mess with the EQ and reverb to start. Then the Virtual Technician. I love Kawai, and prefer the EX over the SK... the bass in both is a bit muddy. For sure the action is much better than the Nord, IMO.

I own the MP11 ... which has (I think) the EX, not the SK (which I think is the MP11se).

Are you saying the MP11 > MP11se (in your view), for sound?

(Mine is 3000 miles away currently, playing ES-110 now).

FWIW, I get bored with the same old sound no matter what, and switch between internal, VST and Pianotec.


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Hello Pol piano, welcome to the forum, and congrats on your new MP11SE.


Originally Posted by Pol piano
...a high-end keyboard at least in terms of action and pianos sounds and having reviewd many videos of it.
...
Originally Posted by Pol piano
I´m playing through a ROLAND KC-550, is it the problem?

May I ask if you listened to the sound of these videos through the KC-550?

As others have noted, I would recommend listening to the MP11SE using a pair of headphones or monitor speakers.

My experience with Roland's KC amps is that they're pretty loud and powerful, and can work well in a live performance environment. However, headphones and monitor speakers will usually do a better job of reproducing stereo piano sounds.

Kind regards,
James
x


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Originally Posted by Pol piano
I´m playing through a ROLAND KC-550, is it the problem?
That would be my guess.

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Originally Posted by Pol piano
Hi to everyone and thanks for your kind answers!

I forgot I had a pair of Yamaha MSP5 speakers and just tried them with the Kawai and now this feels different. Also I tried with the earphones to find that the sound is much better than I realized through the Roland. The thing is that I´m not much of a tech guy and I´m so used to play my old Nord through the Roland that I expected to work also with the Kawai.

Does any of you know if I could improve the sound if I connect the MSP5´s to the Kawai with XLR cables or the standard jack gives the same quality?

Again thanks a lot

The OP's problem is already resolved! Is there something I'm missing from the above post?! He changed his speakers and everything is fine for him!!!

Regarding the cables, if you have sheilded TRS cables it should be all fine 1-3 meter cables and you really don't need XLR.


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I'll chime in on amps... I have a Roland Street Cube, which sounds great, for everything ... except acoustic piano.

I have the Vox keyboard amp, and well as the Roland battery operated keyboard amp. They both sound great for acoustic piano.


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I love the action of my MP11SE and enjoy it every day. But....the internal piano sounds are ...i don’t know how to put it without offending anyone....the sounds are dated , flat, looped, compressed and non pleasing. I use VSL, Embertone, Garritan ,Simple Sam and at first i was skeptical towards software and fully enjoyed hardware. Nowadays it is the opposite and i am truly baffled how mediocre hardware sounds and that the big companies get away with it. I guess their largest consumer base is not familiar with vst pianoworld and think a console with cheap speakers and limited piano memory is how digitals sound from default.

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Originally Posted by pianistje
I guess their largest consumer base is not familiar with vst pianoworld and think a console with cheap speakers and limited piano memory is how digitals sound from default.

Out of curiosity - which speakers do you use with computer that superseed what is on hardware pianos?
That cannot be applied to hardware DP's, I mean.

Looking at the $7000+ what you pay for is mostly more amps and speakers trying to emulate what a real grand piano do in a room. You probably fall off the stool, Viktor Borge style. wink

I tried many VSTs
- some sound good if you are aiming for big grand piano in a concert hall
- it was recorded that way
- but impossible to use in a mix with anything else
- you would get conflicting ambience

- one made a thing about being recorded to analog tape, as a thing by itself
- but they forgot about noise levels and once in a sampler and a note fading noise took over
- unusable as such

- some love Pianoteq stuff
- some hate it

Just about anything sounds good drowned in reverb - it is covering the core sound.

But fades in MP7SE/MP11SE being same audio engine - does not sound natural as default presets I looked at. But found settings to remedy that. That is where it shines in letting you tweak.

Voicing - voicing types like dynamic do a lot more from mellow to bright in how you play
Touch curves - also different strokes for different folks
Touch curve dynamics - lower dynamics on velocity if not even user curves work for you
Key volume - high damping I found did upper register more in level how I want it
Key scaling damping - on and select from which note it is applied
DCA envelopes - ADSR and then DCA touch depth how much velocity affect result
DCF envelopes for filters with same as amp setting
And user settings for key volume and filtering individually all over keyboard, setting for each key individually.
Same for stretch and temperament tunings.

If any of these is not to your liking - and a good chance they aren't to everybodys liking - just spend some time with it.


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I have to agree: I recently got an MP11SE to replace my Korg D1, and while the Kawais sound fine in a store, once you play with a decent pair of headphones the MP11SE is disappointing. It's hard to put my finger on it, but it's like it's slightly muffled; it lacks energy. I did a bunch of comparisons and tests, and I notices that at higher volume settings the MP11SE generates transient noise, so that might be an issue. It produces the transient noise even when playing another keyboard and simply routing the audio through the MP11SE, so it's not the sounds themselves, it's the internal amps. It's also worth noting that giving a firm tap to the MP11SE on the chasis produces a loud hiss, implying something might be loose.

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Did you have to wait awhile for delivery of your new instrument or was it a stock item with your dealer? The reason I ask is that I've had an MP11SE on order since July 2020 and am still waiting :0( on Kawai to ship product. No-one in the US has this piano in stock.


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Try generating a touch custom curve to have more punch (it should happen if you record it correctly, try more than once, dynamic should improve)

And then try this with sk default:
Go to sound and have cutoff at 15 to 30 together with resonance at -10 to - 20 (play around, i'm at cutof 15 and resonance - 10 these days)

Cutoff and resonance don't work like for synths i think, or better to say cutoff does, but resonance is something different than the usual math thing on the cutoff value, it's related to some components of the piano sound in the samples instead (only for piano patches).

Maybe switch on enhancer effect with default settings (i'm on mp7se settings are drywet24 and depth32 her for default)

Let me know

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