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I have been considering upgrading my FP-30 to a more serious hybrid/digital piano for a few weeks now. My budget is under $7500 and initially I focused on the NU1x or the CA99, but lately I have included the NV5 after reading some good reviews and after finding a dealer that is willing to go below the $7500 threshold.

Finally, today I had the chance to try all of these pianos (the Nu1x I had tried twice before at a different dealer).
The NV5, the CA99, and a K200 ATX3 were in the same room. I also had a CA79 there that I quickly tested.

Mine are the impressions of a late beginner player who has only played the FP30 on a regular basis. So take all of this with many grains of salt!

In terms of sound both the NV5 and the CA99 sounded really beautiful (the NV5 was a bit better, but onlyg slightly to my ears) and while the K200 on acoustic felt of course more 'natural' I wouldn't say that the K200 sounded necessarily 'better' than the two purely digital pianos.

The CA79 sounded good, but lacked the 'thunder' of the other pianos in the low range. Each one of these would be a huge upgrade over my current FP-30.

I paid extra attention to make sure to 'buzzing' sounds, given that some user reported problems here on the forum, but I really couldn't hear any.
I actually like the interface for the CA79 and the NV5, it was easy to use and very intuitive. The Nu1x had a much more bare-bone interface that felt a bit outdated. I have users complaining that the constantly on screen in the CA99/NV5 was bothering to them, but in both cases the dealer had set the interface in such a way that it went dark after a few seconds that it is not used, so for me this was a non-issue.

The comparison with the NU1x is a bit harder, because I tried the latter on a different day and at a different place, but from my recollection the Nu1x sounded less convincing then both the CA99 and the NV5. Still great improvement over my current DP, of course!

The action was to me the most striking difference between the pianos. The CA99 felt very light and 'easy' to play, and I guess I would adapt to it faster coming from the FP-30. I asked the dealer to let me try a real Kawai Grand Piano for comparison, and the action was similar, but not identical.
Between the NV5 and the K200-ATX3 the action was virtually indistinguishable to me, and similar to what I remembered from trying the Nu1x. In both cases I had more troubles to adapt coming from the FP-30, as the action was much more 'substantial', if this term makes sense. I also noticed that it was much easier for me to miss notes by not lifting enough the key. I guess this is normal for uprigth pianos and the problem is in my poor technique.

One thing that I noticed with each of these pianos is how much more important is pedaling correctly and how easier it was to get a 'muddy' and unpleasant sound for someone like me compared to the much more forgiving FP-30. Again, this reflects my poor technique and not a problem with pianos.

So, at the end of the day I am left debating between the CA99 and the NV5. The K200 with silent is beyond my price point, so it's out of question at least for now. Aesthetically I like the NV5 better, and the sound was marginally better. The kind of action I want is what I really need to decide on at this point. Should I go for the more 'realistic' action of the NV5 (to which I would in the end adapt, I suspect), or go with the easier to play, but perhaps less 'real' action of the CA99?

The prices are $7400 for the NV5 and $5500 for CA99 (polished ebony). So a substantial difference, but both within my budget. Hard choice ahead, but after today's test I know I will not be disappointed whatever I pick.


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Come to the NV5 side. There is cake!


Kawai: NV5 | VPC1
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Originally Posted by total_beginner
I paid extra attention to make sure to 'buzzing' sounds, given that some user reported problems here on the forum, but I really couldn't hear any.

I actually like the interface for the CA79 and the NV5, it was easy to use and very intuitive. The Nu1x had a much more bare-bone interface that felt a bit outdated. I have users complaining that the constantly on screen in the CA99/NV5 was bothering to them, but in both cases the dealer had set the interface in such a way that it went dark after a few seconds that it is not used, so for me this was a non-issue.........


‘No buzzing.’

‘UI easy to use and very intuitive.’

‘Interface went dark after few seconds of inactivity.’

Hmm.....🤔

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Hi there ,

Thank you for sharing your research with us.

I am also in the same position you are and I am considering some of those digital piano you are.

I am also considering the Kawai MP11SE which it seems to be a very nice for learning piano.

As far your statement
Quote
The K200 with silent is beyond my price point, so it's out of question at least for now.

Take a look on this website
https://www.thomannmusic.com/kawai_k_200_atx_3_e_p_piano.htm

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Just watched your Fuer Elise video. You play well for 13 months! As to your choice for the next piano: these are all very nice pianos, and it really comes down to preference. Acoustics vs digital sound and acoustic vs digital action. You say you do not necessarily prefer the sound of the K200. So that is one thing to leave out of the equation.

You say the CA99 felt lighter and the NV5/K200 more substantial. My experience with a similar (but not same) action of my previous DP, a CA58, is that the Grand Feel type actions are heavier when holding keys down. I.e. perhaps not so much moving the key down, but once it is down and you keep it there, e.g. when holding chords, IMO they are quite heavy. In my case it was too heavy and the reason to trade in the CA58 for a K300 ATX3 (same acoustic action as K200/NV5). I should say though that there are others on this forum that prefer the Grand Feel digital action over an acoustic upright one, because the former simulates a grand action and the latter is 'only' an upright one. But to me the grand action simulation appears more a marketing concept than reality.

Another option to consider would be the Yamaha N1X. https://www.thomannmusic.com/yamaha_n_1x_avant_grand.htm Just a little over your budget smile

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Originally Posted by LarryMan

Unfortunately they don't ship to the US... Those prices are very impressive though.


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Well, I just pulled the trigger on the NV5.
Now the wait begins, 8-10 weeks before I can get my hands on it...


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Congratulations! I'm debating the same options and haven't fully decided yet but the NV5 is on top right now. Sadly, it's not in stock or deliverable in a reasonable amount of time...


August Förster upright (sold). Kawai ES8. Kawai NV5S on order.
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Originally Posted by total_beginner
Well, I just pulled the trigger on the NV5.
Now the wait begins, 8-10 weeks before I can get my hands on it...

Congrats. In the meanwhile you can just hype yourself:



Kawai: NV5 | VPC1
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Oh, I watched that review several times already ;-)


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Hi all,

Had my NV5 delivered last week. Quite a large upgrade for me. My previous piano was a Yamaha YDP 223 about 12 years old.

So now I am learning that I really do not know how to play a real piano at all, LOL. Dealing with the upright action on the NV5 is quite a challenge - I am pretty novice having only dabbled on my YDP 223 for many years. Must have picked up some bad habits.

Decided to start relearning some of Hanon to retrain my fingers for the NV5. Quite revealing how weak my L45 are!

Having some troubles adjusting the speaker sounds to my liking, but the headphones sound great! Interested if anyone else has advice on setting up the NV5 in "Piano" mode.

Jon

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Congratulations Jon!

I suspect it will be a difficult transition for me as well, as I have only played an FP-30 (and my teacher Grand Piano once!) and when I tried the NV5 I struggled a lot even with pieces I know fairly well.
But I guess that I (and you) will adapt in a month or so, and once we adapt we will be better players and more comfortable when switching to real acoustic piano. This in fact was one of the main reasons that made me pick the NV5 over some of the other (excellent) options...

Last edited by total_beginner; 05/10/21 09:20 PM.

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It'll take a couple of weeks (or more) to completely get used to a real action, but within a few hours you'll be more than 80% there smile


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Originally Posted by Pianico
Congratulations! I'm debating the same options and haven't fully decided yet but the NV5 is on top right now. Sadly, it's not in stock or deliverable in a reasonable amount of time...

Hello everybody,

Congratulations also to the TO and you, Pianico.
I did the same after canceling a CA99 order that was already in progress just to face the same situation as you Pianico. May I ask you where you placed your order? I ordered from Thomann. What is interesting about this is the delivery status itself in relation to the size of the dealer. In the meantime I have found a few other (obviously) smaller dealers who can deliver immediately or at least can give a specific delivery date.

Regards,
MBiG


Analogue: Sauter - Hohner - Solton; Digital: Casio - [Kawai -> arrival sometime this century]; Acoustic: Everything that produces sounds during musical activity
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What sound/technician settings have you found useful on the NV5? Do you like "Piano" or "Sound" mode?

Last edited by JBishop; 05/11/21 11:07 AM. Reason: More detailed question.
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Originally Posted by JBishop
What sound/technician settings have you found useful on the NV5? Do you like "Piano" or "Sound" mode?

I have 3 favourites actually. The default piano sound, with ambience changed to "Wood studio" and dialed down a bit. Damper noise is also turned down (on all my favourites). It's my all-around favourite for everything. Next is the "Upright Piano" sound, I like it because of the attack and the lower register in general, with powerful pieces like Griegs Dance of the Knights for example. Also the "SK5" sound, I like it to practice Chopin because it changes timbre so much depending on touch. You may also want to configure the metronome before storing a favourite.

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Originally Posted by MBiG
Originally Posted by Pianico
Congratulations! I'm debating the same options and haven't fully decided yet but the NV5 is on top right now. Sadly, it's not in stock or deliverable in a reasonable amount of time...

Hello everybody,

Congratulations also to the TO and you, Pianico.
I did the same after canceling a CA99 order that was already in progress just to face the same situation as you Pianico. May I ask you where you placed your order? I ordered from Thomann. What is interesting about this is the delivery status itself in relation to the size of the dealer. In the meantime I have found a few other (obviously) smaller dealers who can deliver immediately or at least can give a specific delivery date.

Regards,
MBiG
Hi MBiG,

I didn't order the NV5 yet, I probably wasn't clear about that :-)

Regards,
Pianico


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TB,

You won't be disappointed! Getting to love my new NV5, although have to admit it is a workout for me! Let us know when it arrives and what you think!

Getting better at setting it up for the sound I enjoy most. Be happy to share my thoughts for anyone interested.

Jon

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Hello Pianico,

sorry my fault :-)
May I ask whether the decision has been made in the meantime?

Originally Posted by JBishop
You won't be disappointed! Getting to love my new NV5, although have to admit it is a workout for me! Let us know when it arrives and what you think!

Hello Jon,

did you mean the "heaviness" of the action? Is it possibly the same topic that was described in the youtube video (minute 26) by Stu Harrison? (-> volume to approx. 75%)

Regards,
MBiG

Last edited by MBiG; 05/18/21 04:11 AM.

Analogue: Sauter - Hohner - Solton; Digital: Casio - [Kawai -> arrival sometime this century]; Acoustic: Everything that produces sounds during musical activity
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Hello,

Originally Posted by MBiG
Is it possibly the same topic that was described in the youtube video (minute 26) by Stu Harrison? (-> volume to approx. 75%)

This is so important and can make a huge difference. I do not own a Novus but here's what I do (and since I discovered this, my dynamics and connection between action and sound are so much more satisfactory):

-> I use an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter app, and put my phone where my head would be in playing position, its microphone pointing towards the piano (and/or speakers);
-> From the computer, I have the piano (or VSTi) play C2 at velocity 127;
-> I adjust the volume settings in the audio chain such, that this results in an SPL of 77dB, being just-below the 80dB threshold where volumes could start being damaging.

As said, since I made up this little method, I am over the 🌛 with loudness, dynamics and connection with the instrument.

Cheers and happy fine-tuning,

HZ

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