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#3118432 05/17/21 03:06 AM
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Hello. I’ve wanted to play the piano for a long time and I’m finally able to buy a DP. I am an absolute beginner, so I can’t really go to a shop and try playing a few songs on them. I will still go check them out, though. Just in case. I have narrowed my options down to three:

Roland RP-501R – ~1250$
Casio AP-470 – ~1000$
Kawai KDP110 – ~1000$

From what I understand, the key actions on all three are decent for beginners, but Kawai and Casio are on the noisier side. The keys on the Casio also seem to be a bit wobbly?
As for the sound, from what I read, Roland has the best sound engine. I’m not sure how Casio and Kawai compare. I will mostly be playing songs from bands like Twenty One Pilots, so I think I need a sound on the brighter side (the Kawai sounded a bit dark imo, but every video on YouTube sounds completely different :/). I will mostly be using my Sennheiser HD599s.

I don't really care about anything other than the key action and the piano sounds.

So, which of these three should I buy? Which one do you think has the best sound and is suitable for what I will be playing?
Thanks in advance.

Last edited by jacobycharles1978; 05/17/21 03:08 AM.
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The RP-501R is being replaced by the RP701 and the Kawai KDP-110 by KDP-120, so just check that you are not paying too much for discontinued or soon-to-be discontinued models.

Can't say anything about the actions, but yes, they are probably all okay for a beginner.

Sound is a matter of taste to some degree as none of these models is really "bad" in that sense.

Maybe Kawai is the most natural one(?)

And they all of course have darker and brighter variations of the sounds.

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Thank you for your answer. In my country, the Roland is normally sold for 1800$, so it being discontinued is the sole reason I can buy it smile. As for the Kawai, the pricing is as if it's still in circulation, but the new model isn't a significant update over the old one.
By natural, do you mean closer to an acoustic?

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As for the sounds, the Kawais sound like Kawais, Yamahas sound like Yamahas and Bösendorfers and other brands sample various other pianos. A Steinway is quite common.

The more expensive Rolands of course then use fully modelled sounds and the RP-501R uses a combination of samples and modeling.

So there's that. They sound like different acoustic pianos.

I have a lower end Kawai. I find the sound to be okay. And yes, by "natural" I meant it sounds like a Kawai acoustic grand. (Well, "to a degree" as always with digital pianos.)

I don't always like Casio's "Hamburg Grand" sound which is the only one in their Privia PX models and the first one in Celviano AP models. I like the "American Grand" in the Celvianos more. (A New York Steinway, I guess.) It's less often heard in demo/review videos.

Roland's sound divides people. Some just don't like it all. I think I could live with it just fine. But it's really a "Roland sound". I suppose it's based on a Steinway, but Roland doesn't say that.

Actually the Casio and Roland do then have some more piano simulation details like string resonance instead of only damper resonance in that Kawai model and the Roland uses no sample looping, which in theory should make the decay of sustained notes more natural.

But those are technical details and I would just use my ears to decide the nicest one.

The Roland RP-501R is one the last models to have on board controls for the accompaniments. Newer Rolands require an iOS/Android app for that.

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Hi,

I'm a beginner, well 5 months on a Casio LKS 250, I got the Kawai... only because of the price - I wanted the Yamaha because it's a bit louder I think (I'm a bit deaf).

We don't have music shops where I am so in the end it came down to price I got the ES110 for USD 600 so I cannot complain - I just need to build a stand for it now.

Incredibly, the Kawai stand would cost me USD 300 here!

Anyway, the Kawai is very nice but I have to say compared the Casio LKS 250 the keys feel very heavy - even though it's supposed to have a very light action... I've started hitting them harder to get the sound I like so perhaps that's just because I haven't developed sufficient strength yet.

If you can get to a shop do so - then you can decide for yourself which feels and sounds good to you - only you can decide that.

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@jacobycharles1978: Don't be swayed by this:
Originally Posted by jacobycharles1978
As for the sound, from what I read, Roland has the best sound engine. I’m not sure how Casio and Kawai compare.
What we read is not important. Try the pianos for yourself. Your own ears will inform you better than anything you read. Only your own opinion matters.

It's important to try the pianos ... and not just for the sound. You'll be able to judge the action, too. Both are important.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@jacobycharles1978: Don't be swayed by this:
Originally Posted by jacobycharles1978
As for the sound, from what I read, Roland has the best sound engine. I’m not sure how Casio and Kawai compare.
What we read is not important. Try the pianos for yourself. Your own ears will inform you better than anything you read. Only your own opinion matters.

It's important to try the pianos ... and not just for the sound. You'll be able to judge the action, too. Both are important.

Yup - let's leave words like 'best', 'natural sounding', 'world-class' etc. to the marketing folks.

All the major manufacturers have loads of samples of their DP sounds up on their websites if you want to give a listen without going into a shop. Many sounds may sound similar and alike - but they're worth checking out.

Even if you don't know how to effectively judge an action by yourself at the store, the store visit is still worth it - just simply try the action in person to give you extra confidence with purchase. When you're checking out the sounds, both in person and online, try with and without headphones.

I wish you the best in your search!


A man must love a thing very much if he practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practice it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it.
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Thank you all for your advice. I went to the shop today. Sadly, they only had the Roland RP102 and the Kawai KDP110 on display. Action-wise, I think they are both enjoyable to play, but the Roland was a bit lighter and bouncier in a good way. Both made a very loud noise when I pressed hard and then suddenly released a key, but it didn’t happen every time, so not a problem, I guess. (I also checked the Casio PX-870, which has the same action as the AP-470, for the wobble but all three seemed to wobble the same. They didn’t have the AP-470 on display.)
As for the sound… they are two different pianos with two different sounds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I read people complaining about Rolands sounding very metallic, and some of the samples I listened to did sound metallic enough to bother me, but the sound was fine when I played it. The RP102 did have some weird noise when playing the A B and C4. Like the sound was vibrating. It might have been the resonance, but it was almost unpleasant. I’m still thinking about buying the Roland RP-501R, because it’s supposed to be a higher model than the RP102, so it might have sounded better.

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Quote
. . . I read people complaining about Rolands sounding very metallic, and some of the samples I listened to did sound metallic enough to bother me, but the sound was fine when I played it. . . .

I test-played a previous-generation "SuperNatural" Roland.

. . . Using the default setting for "Touch" ("Medium", I think), the tone was too metallic for my liking.

. . . Using a harder setting for "Touch" ("Hard", I think) -- that is, you had to strike the keys harder, to achieve a given volume -- it sounded fine.

The "SuperNatural" sound generator is quite "klangy" at the top of its volume range -- but so are most acoustic pianos. So turn up the DP's volume (which doesn't change the tone quality), and don't strike the keys quite so hard, and (if your heart moves you) change the "Touch" setting:

. . . it's quite nice, played like that.


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Roland has used the term Supernatural Piano for both modeled and sampled pianos.


Play classical repertoire from score. Improvise blues.
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Hello again. I listened to some more samples that were directly recorded (raw audio, not from a microphone), and since I can’t play any songs yet, I think this is the best option I have to test the sound. (The shop was very noisy and the salesman played the pianos for like 20 seconds each and then left to help other customers. I just pressed buttons randomly. It was very crowded and I won’t have another chance to visit for a while.)

I found the sound of Roland to be consistently “klangy”, not just the top range. Even though was a bit brighter than the Kawai, which I liked, and the key action felt a bit more enjoyable, I think I will go with the Kawai KDP110. I don’t want to spend that much money on a piano and then dislike it’s sound. I hope with the adjusted brightness the Kawai won’t sound very dark.

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I believe the Kawai ES520 has the same action and sound engine as the KDP110, but is in slab format:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ES520--kawai-es520-88-key-digital-piano-with-speakers

The piano is much easier to move-- lighter weight and just lift it off its stand. If you later decide to upgrade the piano, it is much easier to sell a slab format instrument than one embedded in a furniture cabinet. The ES520 has a wider palette of sounds also (34 preset sounds vs 15 on the KDP110).

However, if you want the dedicated stand (HM-5) and triple pedal unit (F-302) it will increase cost. Most slab piano owners use stands from other manufacturers, like this one:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...nds-ks7150-platform-style-keyboard-stand

Just some thoughts. The KDP110 will look nicer if the piano is, say going in your living room. It also may be more readily available given the short supply of some DP's.


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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I believe the Kawai ES520 has the same action and sound engine as the KDP110, but is in slab format:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ES520--kawai-es520-88-key-digital-piano-with-speakers

That would be good advice if I was in the US or EU, but sadly I'm not. The ES520 actually has an improved sound engine (PHI instead of the HI in KDP110) but it costs 1700$ here, without a stand, bench or pedals. The CN29 costs 1400$ here. So it’s way out of my budget.

I also asked the shop about the Kawai KDP120, but they won’t start selling it in at least 1.5 months. I’ll just have to go with the KDP110.

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The KDP110 is a good choice in any case.


Play classical repertoire from score. Improvise blues.

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