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Originally Posted by Mickey_
..and now, ladies and gentlemen...


One reason why the ES920 sounds "fuller" than the ES520 is that the 920 has Cabinet Resonance, absent in the 520. Cabinet Resonance makes the piano notes sound warmer and rounder. Another reason is that the HI-XL engine has more velocity layers (it's just my guess but my ears tell me it has 2 more of them compared to the PHI engine: 1 in the pp range, and another one in the fff), so the sound is a little warmer in the low range of velocities and a little brighter/cleaner in the very high range of velocities, compared to the PHI engine which the ES520 uses.
But it's worth considering that Kawai engineers made a great job with the PHI engine, because most people are able to detect these differences only by comparing the instruments side-by-side.

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Originally Posted by magicpiano
Originally Posted by Mickey_
..and now, ladies and gentlemen...


One reason why the ES920 sounds "fuller" than the ES520 is that the 920 has Cabinet Resonance, absent in the 520. Cabinet Resonance makes the piano notes sound warmer and rounder. Another reason is that the HI-XL engine has more velocity layers (it's just my guess but my ears tell me it has 2 more of them compared to the PHI engine: 1 in the pp range, and another one in the fff), so the sound is a little warmer in the low range of velocities and a little brighter/cleaner in the very high range of velocities, compared to the PHI engine which the ES520 uses.
But it's worth considering that Kawai engineers made a great job with the PHI engine, because most people are able to detect these differences only by comparing the instruments side-by-side.

Just to be clear- when they talk about the sound engine, HI-XL, it's not referring to a sound chip or algorithm, its about how many velocity layers and how long the samples are, right?

Here's the most comprehensive comparison chart I've found so far for the 520/920:

Kawai website comparison chart for ES520/920


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I am not sure but I think the engine is the same but it's able to work longer samples and velocity in the es920.
The new sound engine (and also chip I guess) you will find it in the CA79 - 99. The CA49-59 are the same as ES520-920 sound engine - wise.


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HI-XL is a name Kawai uses to indicate a technology used for piano sound generation, evolution of the previous HI, PHI and UPHI engines. It's a combination of "know how", piano samples, software and hardware things.

You can find some more details in this thread.

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The main CPU and amp boards used be each instrument are also completely different.

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And yet another ("sales-y") comparison video: ES920 vs. Yamaha P515.



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And yet another comparison: this time ES520 vs. Roland FP-60X.



at home: Kawai MP11SE; Yamaha LG800; Yamaha HS7; Ultimate MS-100B; Sennheiser HD558 | office: MP7SE; K&M 18820; Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro

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And here's Stu's full ("sales") review of the ES520:



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Thanks for posting those. I checked out the es520 vs pf-60x. Was a bit disappointed he didn't go more into the action comparisions.


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Originally Posted by Randyman
Thanks for posting those. I checked out the es520 vs pf-60x. Was a bit disappointed he didn't go more into the action comparisions.
Honestly, I think we here are the only ones who really care all that much about action. Most other people will have some preference but find nearly any modern DP to be good enough while shopping.


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In that Merriam video ES520 vs FP60X I think the Kawai sounds extremely good through its speakers given its price point. The Roland is the same old thin twangy racket on the AP voices. I can hear more action noise too on the FP.

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And yet another comparison video by Stu, this time line-out vs. internal speakers.



at home: Kawai MP11SE; Yamaha LG800; Yamaha HS7; Ultimate MS-100B; Sennheiser HD558 | office: MP7SE; K&M 18820; Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro

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Okay – and now it's Tony's turn to review the ES520:



at home: Kawai MP11SE; Yamaha LG800; Yamaha HS7; Ultimate MS-100B; Sennheiser HD558 | office: MP7SE; K&M 18820; Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro

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It's always a pleasure to hear Tony play. IMHO his great control on dynamics (I think it's one of the most difficult things to achieve for a beginner) and its good choice of little demo pieces make even entry-level DPs sound so much better and expressive than what you hear from other reviewers when they review the same model.

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There's a new thread over on the Keyboard Korner forum with James Pavel Shawcross reviewing the Es-110, 520 & 920. I've only gone through the first 10 minutes so far.

http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbth...iews-kawai-es110-520-and-920#Post3097706

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I recently got hand on the Kawai ES520 in a home setting. Nice looks and a nice sample, but I liked the compact action less than that of the ES100 I previously owned. I like Yamaha's GH-derived actions much more.


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One more playing only ES920 demo video. From line out and with contemporary music:

https://www.facebook.com/tampereenmusiikki/videos/385372756391520

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I wasn't going to post a review of my ES 520, but since this thread has been revived here's a few thoughts and surprises.

Action is subjective so IMHO, I like the action on 520. Actually, the more days I spend on it, switching between it and my N2, the more I am loving it.

The weakest samples are the electric bass ones. The two main acoustic piano samples have excellent dynamic range. The Rhodes electric piano samples are amazing and also have excellent dynamic range (for this price point.) I'm surprised that the EP samples include, what sounds like a RMI piano (a piano I never liked but I can't remember finding this sample on others DPs I've owned.) The effects are also great. I like that Kawai has created "classic ep effects," which I'm assuming are warmer (like analog,) as well as offering the digital counterpart. Also, the ease of use to get into the menus is so easy and fun and including Amp sims is a new feature for DPs I've not had in the past. The only effect that I think is important but missing is an autowah.

Again, I must stress the price point was a factor in my purchase as well as my thoughts. A 32 lb, DP with great action, sounds, ease of use for $1200 for a gigging piano, IMHO, is a great accomplishment for Kawai. I traded up from ES110, which I liked very much, but it was very limited of changing patches, chopped samples, and lack of effects.

I am also not disrespecting the ES920. Many will say it's only $400 more (in USA.) If it was going to be my only piano for mostly home I would agree to spend the extra cash, but for gigs, the weight of the DP and lighter action for me was the only way to go. Playing live can make your hands tense (at least I can say I'm guilty of this.) Fun fact: I owned a Roland FP7 for many years but realized after years of selling, buying and ending up with FP4 (lighter weight and action to FP7,) that I should of just bought the FP4 from the beginning. I'd probably still be using FP4 but the electric pianos sucked.

Last edited by 36251; 09/25/21 04:06 PM.

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Thanks for keeping the thread going. I also read your very similar post on The Keyboard Corner forum under a different number (so which is your real number & which is an alias? smile ) . I'm still interested in the 920 but haven't gotten a chance to try out either one although there is a music store about an hour's drive away in West Chester, PA.

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I'm in the market (below around $2500 if possible) for a new DP after my Roland DP's key weights broke for the last time recently (after ONLY 25 years!).

I've narrowed things down to a ES920 and the comparable Roland and Yamaha, but I STILL don't know how robust (if at all) the accompianament feature is on the Kawai? It's listed as "100 styles, 2 variations, 4 parts" but I would love to actually hear this in action.

All the reviews I've seen so far ignore this completely, or if they don't, they just mention it in passing.

I think I am also finding myself up against a wall because I am looking for something that doesn't seem to exist in the market anymore, like it did....20+ years ago :P Which is a mid-level console DP with an above average arranger function. And I THINK that is because arranger functions have kind of been moved from the hardware itself, into the external software realm. Does that sound legit?

If that is the case, are the arrangements (styles, whatever) in each manufacturer's own propriety software packages, or are 3rd part ones better? I think certainly for Roland, at least, and it seems maybe Yamaha as well, you can't find a decent arranger function until you start looking at their very highest end consoles ($3-4K+). I just wonder if the stuff I am looking for (let's say Roland) is in their "Piano Partner 2" software (and the equivalent for Yamaha and the others).

Having said all that, at least the description in the Kawai model gives me hope that they DO have something on board. Question is, is it any good? Does it sound realistic?

If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it!

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