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#3216977 05/17/22 01:04 PM
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Hey folks, here I am asking for an action comparison from any of you who have tried both.


Roland FP-90 - Touchkeys - TEC BC - MIDI Expression
Kontakt - Arturia Piano V - Sonivox Eighty-Eight - Spitfire Symphony Orchestra

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..cough... kawai rhc , greatest action of all time. Superior to all.

a Euphoric balance of lightness, swiftness, uniformity and dynamism.

totally, not biased. grin

Last edited by KawaFanboi; 05/17/22 02:42 PM.
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Which one rolls off your tongue better when you speak about them? That is the one you should pick wink


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
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Really you have to go try them yourself. I know it is very difficult finding them to try but each has a different flavor so to speak. Plus some folks really dislike the Roland modeled piano sounds. If you fall into that camp you might be unhappy with the piano even if you like the action better.


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Well, I own an FP-90, but there's no place where I can try an ES520 around here. The Guitar Center has only low end pianos. I'm considering a second digital piano, but the 2k price range is too much right now, so either I wait quite awhile and keep an eye out for used FP-90 or heavily discounted FP-90x or try a different action.

I like lighter actions, and I like the ES520 sound, so it's heavily under consideration.


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Originally Posted by puremusic
Hey folks, here I am asking for an action comparison from any of you who have tried both.

You're really comparing two instruments from different price points. Despite subjective appreciation of the ES520 action, it is not Kawai's top portable action. The ES920 has the RHIII action, and that is a better comparison to the PHA50 action in the FP90 and FP90X.

On the other hand, you need to decide whether you prefer the Kawai SK concert grand, or the Roland modelled piano.

My opinion is that in order to get the FP90 to really shine, a very nice pair of powered monitors would improve the experience. Even though the FP90 has larger amplification, Roland modelled sound really comes alive with more powerful amplification.

The Kawai sound is much more piano like in tone, but maybe the Roland sound might be more expressive. These tone differences between the ES920 and FP90X are IMO more relevant, as both actions are really good.

Some say that the PHA50 action is really robust and better suited to Jazz, etc, but I couldn't comment on that.

If you are buying a used FP90, also consider the used P515, and maybe boards like the Kawai MP7SE.


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Originally Posted by Doug M.
You're really comparing two instruments from different price points. Despite subjective appreciation of the ES520 action, it is not Kawai's top portable action. The ES920 has the RHIII action

I highly disagree, it's not a matter of price, I was ready to buy at any price, I went back and forth on all of these along with grandfeel for over 3 hours. The RHC in the 520 is lighter, faster, and more even feeling than the rh3 or the grandfeel. absolutely it's down to personal preference, but from the moving parts perspective, I find the rh3 and GF letoff bumper unproductive. the gf3 and gfc also had unexpected loud notes on the units i tested, this was not a problem on rh3 or rhc.

Last edited by KawaFanboi; 05/17/22 04:04 PM.
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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by Doug M.
You're really comparing two instruments from different price points. Despite subjective appreciation of the ES520 action, it is not Kawai's top portable action. The ES920 has the RHIII action

I highly disagree, it's not a matter of price, I was ready to buy at any price, I went back and forth on all of these along with grandfeel for over 3 hours. The RHC in the 520 is lighter, faster, and more even feeling than the rh3 or the grandfeel. absolutely it's down to personal preference, but from the moving parts perspective, I find the rh3 and GF letoff bumper unproductive. the gf3 and gfc also had unexpected loud notes on the units i tested, this was not a problem on rh3 or rhc.

The RHC is better for your uses and piano playing style---not disputing that.

However, Kawai designed both instruments to exist a separate price points based upon the realism of the actions and number of sounds etc.
Whilst you might feel the RHC is superior, Kawai disagree, and they designed the RHIII to be more realistic.

Ligher actions aren't better, they are lighter. Faster actions are only useful if you intend to play fast-repeated notes---you can have a heavy action that is fast btw!

The RHIII action is faster than the Grand Feel action, but the Grand Feel action is still a more realistic action.
Let-off again is just something you like or don't, but if you want to play like you would on an acoustic, you have to pay a bit more for the RHIII. If you want better let-off simulation, you have to pay more still. If you don't wish to have an instrument to practice on when you're not at the acoustic piano, let-off has no use---agreed. It entirely depends on what motivates you.

The problem with testing instruments in store is that the actions tend to get battered, so by the time you get to them, they really need a refurbishment: I wouldn't entirely judge an action on one store demo. Many people buy digital pianos and complain that their new instrument is stiffer than the store demo instrument----again this is just due to the battering they take.

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/17/22 04:15 PM.

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Originally Posted by Doug M.
The RHC is better for your uses and piano playing style---not disputing that.

However, Kawai designed both instruments to exist a separate price points based upon the realism of the actions and number of sounds etc.
Whilst you might feel the RHC is superior, Kawai disagree, and they designed the RHIII to be more realistic.

I don't think that's an accurate assessment of Kawai's interpretation.

kawai RHC engineer: hahahaha, I've created kawai's greatest action, the Race Car of actions.

kawai RH3 engineer: this letoff feels awesome, it's uneven just like real pianos and feels like total crap, job well done.

kawai Boss Man: Grand feel , MORE MONEY, money money, money...

There's no uniform kawai stance.

Last edited by KawaFanboi; 05/17/22 05:33 PM.
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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by Doug M.
The RHC is better for your uses and piano playing style---not disputing that.

However, Kawai designed both instruments to exist a separate price points based upon the realism of the actions and number of sounds etc.
Whilst you might feel the RHC is superior, Kawai disagree, and they designed the RHIII to be more realistic.

I don't think that's an accurate assessment of Kawai's interpretation.

kawai RHC engineer: hahahaha, I've created kawai's greatest action, the Race Car of actions.

kawai RH3 engineer: this letoff feels awesome, it's uneven just like real pianos and feels like total crap, job well done.

kawai Boss Man: Grand feel , MORE MONEY, money money, money...

There's no uniform kawai stance.

Again, that's a subjective opinion based on your value perception. If Kawai had evaluated the RHC to be a better action, Kawai would have put it in the ES920, and put the RHIII in the ES520. They didn't: why, nobody but they can say. However, it's clear that Kawai consider the RHIII to be a step up.

You're not the only one to prefer cheaper actions. PeterWS prefers the ES110 action. Others prefer the PHAIV action over the PHA50. Nothing wrong with that. For myself, I feel the difference and prefer the more advanced actions for piano playing.

For other types of keyboard instrument playing (organ/synth), it's possible there are merits to actions without letoff.

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/17/22 05:41 PM.

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Originally Posted by Doug M.
Again, that's a subjective opinion based on your value perception. If Kawai had evaluated the RHC to be a better action, Kawai would have put it in the ES920, and put the RHIII in the ES520. They didn't: why, nobody but they can say. However, it's clear that Kawai consider the RHIII to be a step up.

you're missing my point doug, kawai is not 1 uniform opinion relative to their decision outcome. they charge more for rh3, that does not mean it's a step up as perceived by everyone at kawai. marketing and engineering see things differently.

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Certainly - the main thing is that the person using the instrument is satisfied with it.

And when it comes to key mechanism 'actions' ------ it's all real, and all genuine. One can choose whatever satisfies them. And - even if a particular instrument doesn't quite meet expectations, and it's all they have access to ------ then we can still play that instrument to the best of our ability and its ability.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Again, that's a subjective opinion based on your value perception. If Kawai had evaluated the RHC to be a better action, Kawai would have put it in the ES920, and put the RHIII in the ES520. They didn't: why, nobody but they can say. However, it's clear that Kawai consider the RHIII to be a step up.

you're missing my point doug, kawai is not 1 uniform opinion relative to their decision outcome. they charge more for rh3, that does not mean it's a step up as perceived by everyone at kawai.

Why didn't Nord buy into the RHC for their Nord Grand? They took the RHIII instead, then they took the let off bits out. So that's two firms who collectively rate the RHIII.

Of course lots of opinion probably exists at Kawai; however, they will charge more for more acoustic-piano-like actions: that's how the whole industry operates.

Many don't like the Grand Touch action in the CLP785. However, I have tried it. The action is quite heavy, but it's really very nice ie, much nicer than the Grand Touch S. For organ, I'd take the Grand Touch S all day long. The goal of the manufacturer is to get closer to the acoustic experience the higher the price bracket.

Obvious reason: as your piano technique improves, and you develop more strength in your playing, you'll want a digital piano action capable of going to the next level---something that plays more like an acoustic. As you're more invested, you're prepared to spend more.


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Again, that's a subjective opinion based on your value perception. If Kawai had evaluated the RHC to be a better action, Kawai would have put it in the ES920, and put the RHIII in the ES520. They didn't: why, nobody but they can say. However, it's clear that Kawai consider the RHIII to be a step up.

you're missing my point doug, kawai is not 1 uniform opinion relative to their decision outcome. they charge more for rh3, that does not mean it's a step up as perceived by everyone at kawai. marketing and engineering see things differently.

I reckon the more expensive action would have benefits to many people, perhaps most. But we're not all the same . . .and some of us have odd opinions about a lot of stuff . . . .:)

Last edited by peterws; 05/17/22 05:53 PM.

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Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
you're missing my point doug, kawai is not 1 uniform opinion relative to their decision outcome. they charge more for rh3, that does not mean it's a step up as perceived by everyone at kawai.

Why didn't Nord buy into the RHC for their Nord Grand? They took the RHIII instead, then they took the let off bits out. So that's two firms who collectively rate the RHIII.

nord like kawai is a group composed of both marketing and engineering. their engineers might've recognized the absolute superiority of RHC, but went with RH3 so the marketing is happy that the consumer won't accuse them from picking from the cheapest in the line up.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
you're missing my point doug, kawai is not 1 uniform opinion relative to their decision outcome. they charge more for rh3, that does not mean it's a step up as perceived by everyone at kawai.

Why didn't Nord buy into the RHC for their Nord Grand? They took the RHIII instead, then they took the let off bits out. So that's two firms who collectively rate the RHIII.

nord like kawai is a group composed of both marketing and engineering. their engineers might've recognized the absolute superiority of RHC, but went with RH3 so the marketing is happy that the consumer won't accuse them from picking from the cheapest in the line up.

I don't think it likely that expert engineers get overruled by marketing on such straight forward issues.


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Originally Posted by Doug M.
I don't think it likely that expert engineers get overruled by marketing on such straight forward issues.

let me give you a historical example. around ww2/cold war stalin reverse engineered the american b29 bomber into their Tu-4, they even copied a repair patch on the plane. the engineers MUST have known that from the material they were copying, that that was a repair patch , however they were so afraid of stalin, that they copied it exactly, just so no one would say, hey that feature wasn't there.

engineers get overruled all the time by marketing/ leadership, not to produce the best engineer, but to make the most money or some other equality vapid goal. this is extremely common.

Last edited by KawaFanboi; 05/17/22 06:49 PM.
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KawaFanboi, with the greatest respect, you're assumptions are completely incorrect.

The "Responsive Hammer Compact" (RHC) keyboard action was developed as a more compact, lighter, and lower cost version of the "Responsive Hammer III" (RHIII) keyboard action.

As well-engineered as the RHC action is, I don't believe there is anyone within Kawai (R&D, marketing, sales, etc.) who believes it to be more realistic than RHIII.

However, I can appreciate that some customers really enjoy playing instruments that utilise the RHC/RHCII action, and may even prefer it to other, more advanced/feature-rich actions. That's perfectly fine. Everyone perceives key touch slightly differently, therefore customers should play-test a wide range of instruments and purchase the piano that they find most agreeable.

Kind regards,
James
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
KawaFanboi, with the greatest respect, you're assumptions are completely incorrect.

As well-engineered as the RHC action is, I don't believe there is anyone within Kawai (R&D, marketing, sales, etc.) who believes it to be more realistic than RHIII.

Kjames, as a customer I do not see any engineering reason why RH3/GFC/GF are better actions in terms of function as a control interface.

I agree, that relative to "realism" perhaps the order is as such.

And again with respect, KJames can not read the minds of all the engineers involved. working under a boss, and maybe a boss engineer, not all ideas/ perceptions are shared. there is also the case where it's possible the makers are not themselves aware that they've stumbled upon a superior solution to the input problem, regardless of the original design goal (cost reduction).

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
KJames can not read the minds of all the engineers involved.

I don't need to read the engineers' minds, I've talked to them and they've explained the objectives of the action's development.

Kind regards,
James
x


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