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Someone in another thread noted that Onkyo, the storied Japanese audio company, has just declared bankruptcy. It appears they’re dissolving the company altogether, rather than just reorganizing (though I’m no expert on Japanese bankruptcy law).

https://www.strata-gee.com/final-curtain-falls-as-main-onkyo-company-declares-bankruptcy/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/marksp...ly-files-for-bankruptcy/?sh=6d73ed4a6f1c

My question is, how will this affect the business of Kawai, which had partnered with Onkyo on some of its digital piano technology?

I have a vested interest here, since I recently put down a deposit on and have been awaiting delivery of a Novus NV10S, which Kawai advertises as an Onkyo-partnership product. With Onkyo no longer existing, will Kawai be able to keep manufacturing this product to fulfill new orders like mine, or are people in the queue just out of luck? I would try to get my deposit back and settle for a Yamaha N1X (my second choice) if the NV10S will not be forthcoming at any reasonable point in time. But perhaps Onkyo’s role in the NV10S was complete at the time the product was designed, and Kawai is perfectly able to carry on manufacturing the product without Onkyo, according to the existing designs?

Any insights would be appreciated (from KawaiJames especially). Thanks!

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onkyo's factory / ip will still exist, might have different owners or same owner restructured. it won't disappear, we might get a delay.

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Kawai James is likely to see this thread and reply. If not, I would send him a PM


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Presumably they've known about Onkyo's problems for some time and have a plan B for such an eventuality.

Assuming Onkyo's assets will be sold off? In which case maybe Kawai could even buy the remains of the business, potentially.

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Presumably this impacts the CA and Aures/ATX as well as the NV series? But even if it does, my guess is that Kawai's DP business is minuscule compared to general home audio, and the volumes needed to maintain production for the NV won't immediately dry up. It'll be interesting to see whether they just drop the branded partnership in the future though (Kawai was doing just fine without that for the older series DPs, I don't see how they couldn't just going back to OEM components)...


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Presumably this impacts the CA and Aures/ATX as well as the NV series? But even if it does, my guess is that Kawai's DP business is minuscule compared to general home audio, and the volumes needed to maintain production for the NV won't immediately dry up. It'll be interesting to see whether they just drop the branded partnership in the future though (Kawai was doing just fine without that for the older series DPs, I don't see how they couldn't just going back to OEM components)...

It would also be interesting to know how much of that partnership was actual R&D and manufacturing, and how much of it was marketing and mutual brand recognition.

Not meant as a criticism - the sound on the Novus is pretty good.

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If I remember, I’ll ask them at the NAMM show.


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I suspect the OEM business (audio partnerships with Porsche, Infiniti, Kawai, etc.) has a separate team and is focused on engineering and design. That seems like a much better business than cut-throat consumer audio equipment. For those reasons, I would not be surprised to see these partnerships continue, perhaps under a new umbrella.

Else, there are plenty of other partners Kawai could engage or just bring all the electronic audio back "in-house", which was pretty good before IMHO.

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the other problem is replacement parts for existing owners of the onkyo based CA models. makes me weary of spending too much money on digital piano in this economic climate, if medium sized companies can fold like that.

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I hadn't even thought about replacement parts in case the Novus comes, but has issues with the audio components down the line. That's an important point too! Hopefully the other posters in this thread are right and Kawai will be able to have someone else manufacture these parts, or manufacture them itself, without too much trouble or delay. I reached out to the dealer I paid the deposit to for the Novus to see if he has heard anything from his Kawai contacts and will let everyone know what I hear.

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Onkyo's collaboration with Kawai was just maturing nicely. Seems to me Kawai should incorporate the department that have helped them. Wonder if there is too much debt to entice buyers?


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I imagine they'd specify an acceptable alternative speaker of the same dimensions for minimum fuss. And we'd never notice!


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My guess is there is some pre-existing inventory for supplies/repairs already, and I agree drivers should be a pretty easy drop-in replacement. Maybe even the soundboard transducers too.

But as to the electronics/amp, who actually builds this? Kawai or Onkyo? Does the bk impact the IP licensing, if Kawai needs to order more for service, will they be able to?

[Linked Image]

I think if supplies are in fact so constrained that they don't have enough and can't source more, they would have to stop selling certain models to ensure that their remaining supply is sufficient for future service forecasts (just a guess).


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OOops! Not good for business, Gombessa! Might be the truth, but maybe there's a time to be economical with it . . . . smile


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eek


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
My guess is there is some pre-existing inventory for supplies/repairs already, and I agree drivers should be a pretty easy drop-in replacement. Maybe even the soundboard transducers too.

But as to the electronics/amp, who actually builds this? Kawai or Onkyo? Does the bk impact the IP licensing, if Kawai needs to order more for service, will they be able to?

I think if supplies are in fact so constrained that they don't have enough and can't source more, they would have to stop selling certain models to ensure that their remaining supply is sufficient for future service forecasts (just a guess).

The parts photographed look to me like standard off the shelf chips. Just google the part numbers:

AK4137EQ - https://www.akm.com/eu/en/products/audio/ak4137eq/
AK4490EQ - https://www.akm.com/eu/en/support/customer-care/eol/ak4490eq/

'DIDRC Filter circuit' is a photo of basic capacitors.
'Premium Power Amplifiers' photo shows a PSU coils and heatsink/capacitors

'Spectramodule' photo shows more standard capacitors.

I think whether this causes problems for Kawai in any way comes back to whether any of the parts are indeed custom and not off-the-shelf, or where an off-the-shelf replacement will suffice (the photos aren't of custom parts).

It's plausible that the partnership was in fact one of R&D or advice, in which case Kawai already have everything they need to continue manufacturing.

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This is great news! Now Kawai won't be able to continue making cabinet and portable digital pianos and will concentrate on slab digital pianos. There's finally a chance that the successor to the MP11SE will come out at some point. smirk

Just kidding. However, I've never seen the benefits of Kawai and Onkyo collaboration. On the contrary, as soon as this collaboration began, there were massive complaints from users about the infamous hissing and rattling from the speakers.

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There are chips with Onkyo's logo printed on them in there, but they could just be rebadged off the shelf chips. the problem remains though, when the company downsizes the guy who worked on the board might've customized the firmware somehow, and when he leaves the company, they might not know how to fix things. this happens quite often, companies end up selling products with known defects and such because they don't have anyone who knows how to fix it.

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As an aside, wonder if we'll end up seeing Onkyo liquidated stock appearing on eBay and the like. That's actually how I picked up my Mordaunt Short Mezzo 1 bookshelf speakers, which are lovely and only cost me £150.

Think the Mordaunt Short company name is now owned by some other audio firm.

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I am in the same position waiting for delivery of a Novus n5s expected sometime in June in the UK. I hope Kawai James can pick this up and provide some clarity to give reassurance. If not, I may have to dig deeper in my pockets and switch to the Yamaha N1X.

KP NUTS

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I think there's little chance this will affect immediate product availability, KP. These durable goods typically have pretty long lead times on product schedules, supply manifest commitments, etc.

Best of luck getting your NV-5S smile


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I have a CA99 that just hit 6 months old. When I first saw the ads touting the Onkyo sound system my first thought was "Onkyo? I haven't heard that name in years. Are they still in business?"

Turns out I was just ahead of my time. smile

I'm not worried about the effects of Onkyo totally ceasing support (if they do) because my 5-year CA99 warranty is through Kawai, not Onkyo. If I have an in-warranty problem, which is for the next 4.5 years, I trust Kawai to handle it.

Kawai is not going to kill major products simply because a single vendor ceased operation. I'm sure Kawai, like most companies in the past few years, has secured alternative vendors and almost undoubtedly has been working on this due to the previous Onkyo financial actions that went on. Kawai's ads may change, they may introduce the CA100 with a "New, improved sound system!" but I'm sure the product will still be around.

And if my Onkyo system rolls over and dies, hey, maybe I'll get the "New, improved sound system!" as a retrofit!

Ray

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nxr, i don't think people are worried about the 5 year warranty, $6000 is not a 5 year thing. it's more like a 20 year thing. lots of things can happen, so people looking at the expensive digitals may be thinking that if even relatively large/established electronic companies can go bust, is it really advisable to buy into such an expensive thing today.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
nxr, i don't think people are worried about the 5 year warranty, $6000 is not a 5 year thing. it's more like a 20 year thing. lots of things can happen, so people looking at the expensive digitals may be thinking that if even relatively large/established electronic companies can go bust, is it really advisable to buy into such an expensive thing today.

That kind of depends on how old you are, right? smile

My family history suggests I have no need to worry about what might happen in two decades. Plus, 20 years is a long time. Essentially we're talking about large companies that existed in the 20th century but failed some time in the 21st century. There are a lot of those.

Ray


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Originally Posted by NXR
Essentially we're talking about large companies that existed in the 20th century but failed some time in the 21st century. There are a lot of those.

exactly, so when we shop for our forever piano, it's something to hesitate over.

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I wanted to offer everyone an update on this, since I said I would reach out to my local Kawai dealer...

They, in turn, reached out to their contacts at Kawai, and were told: "The Onkyo situation has been brewing for a while, and our engineers have managed to continue production of the Novus and CA series without interruption. We have a supply of certain Onkyo parts that are still being used and eventually we will use redesigned circuits that our engineers have been working on. In short, Onkyo’s problems are not impacting our production."

This puts my mind at ease a bit about the NV-10S I'm waiting for. :-)

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Originally Posted by fauxbourdon
I wanted to offer everyone an update on this, since I said I would reach out to my local Kawai dealer...

They, in turn, reached out to their contacts at Kawai, and were told: "The Onkyo situation has been brewing for a while, and our engineers have managed to continue production of the Novus and CA series without interruption. We have a supply of certain Onkyo parts that are still being used and eventually we will use redesigned circuits that our engineers have been working on. In short, Onkyo’s problems are not impacting our production."

This puts my mind at ease a bit about the NV-10S I'm waiting for. :-)

Not surprising Kawai saw that coming given the company's recent history. But it's great news they have what they need in terms of components and can continue uninhibited.

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Hello folks,

This statement was posted on the Kawai Global site earlier:

https://www.kawai-global.com/news/official-statement-regarding-onkyo-bankruptcy-filing/

Kind regards,
James
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello folks,

This statement was posted on the Kawai Global site earlier:

https://www.kawai-global.com/news/official-statement-regarding-onkyo-bankruptcy-filing/

Kind regards,
James
x

Wow, you really do have a lot of pull! smile

The most recent CA97/99 firmware update alluded to hardware changes and I suspect that won't be the last of them.

Ray


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Interesting ‘statement,’ but I wonder, if the parts are being outsourced to other companies, then, is it proper to continue marketing something like the NV10\S as ‘using’ Onkyo speakers despite the speakers no longer being built by Onkyo?

Or will there exist two versions of the Novus, one with Onkyo and another with Onkyo-like speakers?

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Originally Posted by Pete14
...is it proper to continue marketing something like the NV10\S as ‘using’ Onkyo speakers...

May I ask which information you are referencing Peter?

Here's the Novus NV10S/NV5S brochure:
https://www.kawai-global.com/data/catalogue/novus/NV10S_NV5S_brochure_EN_300dpi_spread.pdf

Here are the Novus NV10S/NV5S product pages:
https://www.kawai-global.com/product/nv10s/
https://www.kawai-global.com/product/nv5s/


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Based on the documentation you’ve provided, I have extrapolated the following:

‘Developed in collaboration with Onkyo, the NV10\S features specialist filtering and amplification components designed for high-resolution sound reproduction.’

I am still in the process of reading the entire document(s); however, I’ve yet to find a specific mention of Onkyo speakers being used, so I’ll give you that for the time being.

Perhaps I’ve read about this here, but I was certain about the Novus using Onkyo speakers. I apologize in advance if I was mistaken.

But still, what about the ‘specialist filtering and amplification components’?

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Originally Posted by Pete14
Based on the documentation you’ve provided, I have extrapolated the following:

‘Developed in collaboration with Onkyo, the NV10\S features specialist filtering and amplification components designed for high-resolution sound reproduction.’

I am still in the process of reading the entire document(s); however, I’ve yet to find a specific mention of Onkyo speakers being used, so I’ll give you that for the time being.

Perhaps I’ve read about this here, but I was certain about the Novus using Onkyo speakers. I apologize in advance if I was mistaken.

But still, what about the ‘specialist filtering and amplification components’?

Well, independant of the state of the onkyo company at the date of today, the novus was developed in collaboration with onkyo? Yes or no?
If they still use onkyo components inside, we'll it is another story.
But the fact is that they developed it together with onkyo.

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Pete14,

Originally Posted by Pete14
I was certain about the Novus using Onkyo speakers.

Current Novus instruments do not use Onkyo speakers.

Originally Posted by Pete14
what about the ‘specialist filtering and amplification components’?

This refers to hardware designed in collaboration with Onkyo.

As the statement explains, the Onkyo bankruptcy filing will not affect the production of Kawai instruments, nor the supply of spare parts.

Kind regards,
James
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Yes, but what about the NV-20, will it use a solid-spruce soundboard? wink

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Thank you for the confirmation Kawai James, and the official statement from Kawai. Honestly, I don't think we'd get that kind of confirmation/comfort from some other makers, so it's a good reminder how important Kawai takes its music customers!

Pete, fwiw I don't see any Onkyo badging on my NV-10 speakers:

[Linked Image]


Originally Posted by Pete14
Yes, but what about the NV-20, will it use a solid-spruce soundboard? wink

Be careful! Yesterday it's the action, today it's a full soundboard. Before you know it, you may be asking for a hybrid with real Roslau wire strings, and you'll look at yourself in the mirror only to discover you have become that which you sought to destroy.


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Special thanks go to Kawai James, as he keeps us updated here outside of his routine job at Kawai😊😊


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Be careful! Yesterday it's the action, today it's a full soundboard. Before you know it, you may be asking for a hybrid with real Roslau wire strings…..

On the matter of strings, yes, the modern hybrid will incorporate my patented NanoStrings!

“NanoStrings, like strings, only better.”

My NanoString(s) will be nothing like your grandpa’s copper strings, for you see, my take on the string will incorporate nano-sensors capable of picking up on your most hidden inner desires. The notion that a copper string can capture the player’s intentions will seem moot compared to my string’s almost psychic abilities; so good, my string will be, that it will anticipate your intentions the minute they pop into your head. Old fashioned strings cannot compete with that!


P.S.

I’ve taken a beating over my truth, but that is nothing compared to those burned at the stake for making such “outlandish” statements as, “the world is freaking round, and it revolves around the sun (that guy was both hanged and burned for ‘such heresy’).

I only hope to be around when it is finally confirmed: not only is the world round, but also, the hybrid has replaced the acoustic!


P.P.S.

Yes, there still exist people, out there, believing that the world is flat!

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Originally Posted by Pete14
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Be careful! Yesterday it's the action, today it's a full soundboard. Before you know it, you may be asking for a hybrid with real Roslau wire strings…..

On the matter of strings, yes, the modern hybrid will incorporate my patented NanoStrings!

“NanoStrings, like strings, only better.”

My NanoString(s) will be nothing like your grandpa’s copper strings, for you see, my take on the string will incorporate nano-sensors capable of picking up on your most hidden inner desires. The notion that a copper string can capture the player’s intentions will seem moot compared to my string’s almost psychic abilities; so good, my string will be, that it will anticipate your intentions the minute they pop into your head. Old fashioned strings cannot compete with that!


P.S.

I’ve taken a beating over my truth, but that is nothing compared to those burned at the stake for making such “outlandish” statements as, “the world is freaking round, and it revolves around the sun (that guy was both hanged and burned for ‘such heresy’).

I only hope to be around when it is finally confirmed: not only is the world round, but also, the hybrid has replaced the acoustic!


P.P.S.

Yes, there still exist people, out there, believing that the world is flat!
And the next step will be your Nano-strings linked directly to your brain.
You won't need any interface (like Ur-old pianoforte or old Digital piano). You won't need your "digits" in your hand to play a sound, you only think of a piece of music and it will play directly in your brain with all the nuances you want.
You will be fat since you always use elevators, with nano strings in your brain. And you will be happy. You will live in a permanent present without any efforts, any memories since the cloud will be your friend.
What will be the point to play some musics?

Go till the end of your theory.

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An electric piano with little wires and pickups has already been made… Yamaha CP60, CP70 and CP80.


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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
An electric piano with little wires and pickups has already been made… Yamaha CP60, CP70 and CP80.

And a few Kawai models.

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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Pete14,

Originally Posted by Pete14
I was certain about the Novus using Onkyo speakers.

Current Novus instruments do not use Onkyo speakers.

Originally Posted by Pete14
what about the ‘specialist filtering and amplification components’?

This refers to hardware designed in collaboration with Onkyo.

As the statement explains, the Onkyo bankruptcy filing will not affect the production of Kawai instruments, nor the supply of spare parts.

Kind regards,
James
x

With regard to the future: the collaboration with Onkyo seemed to be providing Kawai with developing competitive advantage.

Now Onkyo are no longer involved, will Kawai seek to continue development by employing former Onkyo engineers or by developing further collaborations with other external contractors to continue to push the amplification envelope?

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/27/22 05:17 PM.

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Quote
With regard to the future: the collaboration with Onkyo seemed to be providing Kawai with developing competitive advantage.

Now Onkyo are no longer involved, will Kawai seek to continue development by employing former Onkyo engineers or by developing further collaborations with other external contractors to continue to push the amplification envelope?

Perhaps at one time it did. But Onkyo has been on a downhill slide for a long time. They have not had real profits since around 2013. Onkyo USA had controlling interest sold to Gibson (guitars) and they crashed and burned in 2018.

Companies in dire financial straits are not innovating because that takes free cash for R&D; they're cutting, laying off, relying on existing products, and just trying to survive instead. Onkyo went insolvent a year and a half ago (not enough cash coming in to pay the current bills and suppliers).

As painful as it seems today I think this is a good way for Kawai to move into the future. Kawai is a large company and I have no doubt they have the ability to keep innovating without Onkyo. I also suspect that Kawai saw this coming long before those of us not in the industry did. I think they're business-savvy enough to have gotten certain contract concessions from Onkyo, such as the sale of certain intellectual property to Kawai, in the event of a bankruptcy or similar business failure.

I'm not concerned in the least.

Ray


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Originally Posted by NXR
Quote
With regard to the future: the collaboration with Onkyo seemed to be providing Kawai with developing competitive advantage.

Now Onkyo are no longer involved, will Kawai seek to continue development by employing former Onkyo engineers or by developing further collaborations with other external contractors to continue to push the amplification envelope?

Perhaps at one time it did. But Onkyo has been on a downhill slide for a long time. They have not had real profits since around 2013. Onkyo USA had controlling interest sold to Gibson (guitars) and they crashed and burned in 2018.

Companies in dire financial straits are not innovating because that takes free cash for R&D; they're cutting, laying off, relying on existing products, and just trying to survive instead. Onkyo went insolvent a year and a half ago (not enough cash coming in to pay the current bills and suppliers).

As painful as it seems today I think this is a good way for Kawai to move into the future. Kawai is a large company and I have no doubt they have the ability to keep innovating without Onkyo. I also suspect that Kawai saw this coming long before those of us not in the industry did. I think they're business-savvy enough to have gotten certain contract concessions from Onkyo, such as the sale of certain intellectual property to Kawai, in the event of a bankruptcy or similar business failure.

I'm not concerned in the least.

Ray

Agreed. And although I'd describe the NV5S (in our experience) sound as "good", there's definitely still a lot of scope for improvement. It's unlikely that Kawai needs a partner like Onkyo to make that happen. Up the quality of the woofers, the SNR etc. of the amplification and work hard on further improving the instrument samples.

It they do need to partner with anyone there's always plenty more choices.

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Originally Posted by DeckardWill
Originally Posted by NXR
Quote
With regard to the future: the collaboration with Onkyo seemed to be providing Kawai with developing competitive advantage.

Now Onkyo are no longer involved, will Kawai seek to continue development by employing former Onkyo engineers or by developing further collaborations with other external contractors to continue to push the amplification envelope?

Perhaps at one time it did. But Onkyo has been on a downhill slide for a long time. They have not had real profits since around 2013. Onkyo USA had controlling interest sold to Gibson (guitars) and they crashed and burned in 2018.

Companies in dire financial straits are not innovating because that takes free cash for R&D; they're cutting, laying off, relying on existing products, and just trying to survive instead. Onkyo went insolvent a year and a half ago (not enough cash coming in to pay the current bills and suppliers).

As painful as it seems today I think this is a good way for Kawai to move into the future. Kawai is a large company and I have no doubt they have the ability to keep innovating without Onkyo. I also suspect that Kawai saw this coming long before those of us not in the industry did. I think they're business-savvy enough to have gotten certain contract concessions from Onkyo, such as the sale of certain intellectual property to Kawai, in the event of a bankruptcy or similar business failure.

I'm not concerned in the least.

Ray

Agreed. And although I'd describe the NV5S (in our experience) sound as "good", there's definitely still a lot of scope for improvement. It's unlikely that Kawai needs a partner like Onkyo to make that happen. Up the quality of the woofers, the SNR etc. of the amplification and work hard on further improving the instrument samples.

It they do need to partner with anyone there's always plenty more choices.

You have to compare that with the state of things back when the CA97 was released. Then, Yamaha were so much better in the amplification department and the later CLP 6XX series just widened that gulf: the Amplification on the CA98 was considerably behind still.

Since then, the Onkyo collaboration has been kicking in. Look at the latest effort: the difference between the sound of the ES8 vs ES920 is mostly due to improvements in the amplification not the sample quality

Same sound engine, improved drivers and whatnot...



Yes, I would say they still have a bit to go in the improvements race at amplification level, and that's why I'm wondering---now that the company providing expertise in that area is liquidated: where will Kawai get that injection of amplification expertise, and how will they lead that R&D effort to get to the next level ---ie, hopefully at least remain competitive, but stick with the objective to get well ahead of Yamaha, Roland etc?

I would say that the key quality right now of the ES920 is that they've still got that lighter more nimble action than the chunky NWX action in the P515, but the ES920 amplification now edges the sound clarity from the P515.

So, I think that the Onkyo collaboration has borne fruits at the commercial level (top portable pianos).

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/28/22 06:14 AM.

Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
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We can be sure that kawai have a 'plan b'. And most likely have a plan c and d. It will be just fine.

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I'm slightly concerned that their plan b might be 'wing it' and plan c might be 'panik!'.


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Originally Posted by steamrick
I'm slightly concerned that their plan b might be 'wing it' and plan c might be 'panik!'.

I'm not going to ignore Douglas Adam's advice about living in this universe; however, the overall state of the music industry does worry me:

1) Loss of music stores accross the world due to online sales and industry stressors----we could one day be unable to test instruments entirely.
2) Loss of live-music which won't recover until Covid is beaten
3) Lack of grass roots interest in playing piano and other instruments in favour of low-effort/high-addition activities like computer gaming
4) Lack of decent commercial musicianship and total reliance upon computerised music production, spoiling generations of music appreciation i.e., lack of general appreciation of good composition
5) Lack of mandatory music education at secondary level---again leaving people unable to appreciate the technical aspects of music.

All of these factors are long-term negative impactors on instrument manufacturer


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Originally Posted by Doug M.
You have to compare that with the state of things back when the CA97 was released. Then, Yamaha were so much better in the amplification department and the later CLP 6XX series just widened that gulf: the Amplification on the CA98 was considerably behind still.

Since then, the Onkyo collaboration has been kicking in. Look at the latest effort: the difference between the sound of the ES8 vs ES920 is mostly due to improvements in the amplification not the sample quality

Same sound engine, improved drivers and whatnot...



Yes, I would say they still have a bit to go in the improvements race at amplification level, and that's why I'm wondering---now that the company providing expertise in that area is liquidated: where will Kawai get that injection of amplification expertise, and how will they lead that R&D effort to get to the next level ---ie, hopefully at least remain competitive, but stick with the objective to get well ahead of Yamaha, Roland etc?

I would say that the key quality right now of the ES920 is that they've still got that lighter more nimble action than the chunky NWX action in the P515, but the ES920 amplification now edges the sound clarity from the P515.

So, I think that the Onkyo collaboration has borne fruits at the commercial level (top portable pianos).

See what you mean and thanks for posting the video. It just surprises me a little that Kawai would need Onkyo to make those improvements. Speakers and amplification isn't exactly a complicated science - generally what you get out of it in terms of sound quality is determined by what you put in. The woofers, the DAC, opamps etc... most of this, you can easily pick and choose off-the-shelf.

The Novus range I can kind of understand in terms of their use of a sound board and more complicated speaker array but even then...

Anyway it will be interesting to see what the next generation of Kawai instruments brings in terms of sound output smile

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Originally Posted by Doug M.
I'm not going to ignore Douglas Adam's advice about living in this universe; however, the overall state of the music industry does worry me:

Don't worry about it. As long as there's no nuke war or much nastier pandemic, then the world will keep pushing on - at least until us people drain the planet dry, and finish it off with the pollution etc ----- (ie. until it really becomes too late). We did have covid for sure - but could have been far worse I guess - such as a super contagious ebola variant type thing - as in 100 times more nasty but with same spreading ability.

So - since it looks like we are making it (or made) it out of this one, the music industry will push on.

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Originally Posted by DeckardWill
Originally Posted by Doug M.
You have to compare that with the state of things back when the CA97 was released. Then, Yamaha were so much better in the amplification department and the later CLP 6XX series just widened that gulf: the Amplification on the CA98 was considerably behind still.

Since then, the Onkyo collaboration has been kicking in. Look at the latest effort: the difference between the sound of the ES8 vs ES920 is mostly due to improvements in the amplification not the sample quality

Same sound engine, improved drivers and whatnot...



Yes, I would say they still have a bit to go in the improvements race at amplification level, and that's why I'm wondering---now that the company providing expertise in that area is liquidated: where will Kawai get that injection of amplification expertise, and how will they lead that R&D effort to get to the next level ---ie, hopefully at least remain competitive, but stick with the objective to get well ahead of Yamaha, Roland etc?

I would say that the key quality right now of the ES920 is that they've still got that lighter more nimble action than the chunky NWX action in the P515, but the ES920 amplification now edges the sound clarity from the P515.

So, I think that the Onkyo collaboration has borne fruits at the commercial level (top portable pianos).

See what you mean and thanks for posting the video. It just surprises me a little that Kawai would need Onkyo to make those improvements. Speakers and amplification isn't exactly a complicated science - generally what you get out of it in terms of sound quality is determined by what you put in. The woofers, the DAC, opamps etc... most of this, you can easily pick and choose off-the-shelf.

The Novus range I can kind of understand in terms of their use of a sound board and more complicated speaker array but even then...

Anyway it will be interesting to see what the next generation of Kawai instruments brings in terms of sound output smile

Kawai could well have come to the understanding required to achive better results through their own research and development; however, as these things are already understood by hi-fi manufacturers, it would seem ineffecient to start from scratch or start from any point, when some other entity could offer competitive information that results in better design in shorter R&D time-frame.

Yamaha have built and developed a lot more hi-fi equipment. In order to compete with that in best possible time-frame, getting collaborations developed would seem a good appraoch.

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/29/22 08:59 AM.

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Originally Posted by Doug M.
Kawai could well have come to the understanding required to achive better results through their own research and development; however, as these things are already understood by hi-fi manufacturers, it would seem ineffecient to start from scratch or start from any point, when some other entity could offer competitive information that results in better design in shorter R&D time-frame.

That's kind of why manufacturing in the USA is in the mess it's in. Company beancounters push that "Someone else is always better than us" mentality and companies start outsourcing and finally reach the point where they have lost the core competencies they need to stay in business. In effect they decided to put their future in the hands of other companies where they are just a number.

Witness "The Cloud".

I remember when the web hosting company used by the bank I worked for decided to exit that business. One of their customers, Pepsi, was in a meeting with a large hosting provider and the Pepsi people started dictating what they wanted in the way of standard contract modifications and performance guarantees. The people from the hosting provider said "Sorry, no. This is our standard contract and that's what it is."

The Pepsi senior manager said "You do understand that we're Pepsi, right? We can spend a lot of money with you."

The hosting company senior manager replied "Yes, we know who Pepsi is, of course. But Pepsi will not even be in the Top 100 of our largest customers."

Pepsi decided to bring everything back in house after that meeting. I don't know if they still host their own sites but they did back then.

Or the hosting providers decide to stop offering some service that your business relies on and now you're scrambling and spending a lot of money. Salesforce pulled that at least once when they announced that they would no longer renew contracts for certain companies in the firearm business. If you built your entire online presence using the Salesforce-unique capabilities you suddenly were faced with a big problem.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/30/salesforce-bans-some-gun-sellers-from-using-its-software.html

While many people will agree with Salesforce on that change, what if your outsourcing company decides that your business no longer meets their policies? Or the services they provide to you simply are not profitable enough for them anymore? Or they get bought out and the new owner decides to shut down that part of the old business? That happened to the bank I worked for. The company that provided the mainframe client software also had an electronics payment division. They got bought out and everything except the electronics payment division was shut down a year later. They still "supported" the old products but at a greatly increased cost and with very long delays.

Ray


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Originally Posted by NXR
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Kawai could well have come to the understanding required to achive better results through their own research and development; however, as these things are already understood by hi-fi manufacturers, it would seem ineffecient to start from scratch or start from any point, when some other entity could offer competitive information that results in better design in shorter R&D time-frame.

That's kind of why manufacturing in the USA is in the mess it's in. Company beancounters push that "Someone else is always better than us" mentality and companies start outsourcing and finally reach the point where they have lost the core competencies they need to stay in business. In effect they decided to put their future in the hands of other companies where they are just a number.

Witness "The Cloud".

I remember when the web hosting company used by the bank I worked for decided to exit that business. One of their customers, Pepsi, was in a meeting with a large hosting provider and the Pepsi people started dictating what they wanted in the way of standard contract modifications and performance guarantees. The people from the hosting provider said "Sorry, no. This is our standard contract and that's what it is."

The Pepsi senior manager said "You do understand that we're Pepsi, right? We can spend a lot of money with you."

The hosting company senior manager replied "Yes, we know who Pepsi is, of course. But Pepsi will not even be in the Top 100 of our largest customers."

Pepsi decided to bring everything back in house after that meeting. I don't know if they still host their own sites but they did back then.

Or the hosting providers decide to stop offering some service that your business relies on and now you're scrambling and spending a lot of money. Salesforce pulled that at least once when they announced that they would no longer renew contracts for certain companies in the firearm business. If you built your entire online presence using the Salesforce-unique capabilities you suddenly were faced with a big problem.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/30/salesforce-bans-some-gun-sellers-from-using-its-software.html

While many people will agree with Salesforce on that change, what if your outsourcing company decides that your business no longer meets their policies? Or the services they provide to you simply are not profitable enough for them anymore? Or they get bought out and the new owner decides to shut down that part of the old business? That happened to the bank I worked for. The company that provided the mainframe client software also had an electronics payment division. They got bought out and everything except the electronics payment division was shut down a year later. They still "supported" the old products but at a greatly increased cost and with very long delays.

Ray

I'm not suggesting that Kawai should permanently out-source amplification.
I'm suggesting that they develop collaborations to help bring the knowledge of their internal departments up to a higher level.

When you don't have the internal expertise, to form collaboration in order to bring in the expertise is common.

To use a formula 1 example: Red Bull racing collaborated with Honda. At the start, Honda designed an built the engines for MacLaren. MacLaren didn't do every well as Honda were learning and playing catchup on Mercedes. Then, MacLaren dumped Honda and RedBull started a collaboration with Honda instead. That collaboration was successful---partly because Honda had managed to catch up---and last year, Red Bull won the world championship. Now, Red Bull have built an engine manufacturing factory in the UK and have Honda engineers help them get established as a stand-alone unit (as Honda wish to leave formula 1 again). By 2025, Red Bull will be an engine manufacturer in their own right.

It maybe that Kawai have already learnt a great deal from Onkyo designers and engineers; however, there might be even better potential collaborations possible to get to the next level.

Certainly, I don't believe either that a long-term strategy of out-sourcing makes sense. Actually, more sense would be for Kawai to create another product line---powered monitors, hi-fi systems etc.
That way, two parts of Kawai complement each other: the hi-fi section using it's specialised expertise to improve instrument design.

If you look at Yamaha, that's their model.

Last edited by Doug M.; 05/29/22 01:26 PM.

Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
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the reason kawai worked with onkyo is probably because they don't have the validation tools for audio in house, and they wanted something professional instead of off the shelf.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
T he reason kawai worked with onkyo is probably because they don't have the validation tools for audio in house, and they wanted something professional instead of off the shelf.

Could be.
Be interesting to undestand the precise motives, but unlikely that info would be shared.


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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