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#1215479 - 06/10/09 08:14 PM Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX
qythium Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Singapore
Hi all,

This is my first post on this forum laugh

I am looking for a digital piano for practicing on my own and also doing sequencing and stuff on the computer, and after having done extensive research, I narrowed my choice down to the Kawai MP5 and Roland RD-300GX (can't afford the RD-700). Both cost roughly the same (Roland is a bit more expensive)

From the specs alone, the Roland keyboard is obviously much better. It has more sounds, more effects, is lighter, can record your playing, an 'Audio Key' feature to play MP3s, a Piano Designer (though the Kawai also has something like this). On the other hand, the Kawai MP5 has only one feature that Roland does not-- half-damper support. And it comes with a pedal, unlike Roland.

Damn Roland-- if it supported half-damper, I would have immediately chosen it. Is it that hard to implement anyway? And that is the killer feature, because I'm classically trained and use half-pedal all the time on the acoustic piano. The other features are simply not important- who needs that many instruments anyway? And if I want to record myself or play MP3s I'd connect it to my computer.

So now I want to know, is there any way the sustain pedal (with half-damper capabilities) can be hooked up to the Roland keyboard to produce a half-damper effect? I don't mean natively, I mean when connected to the computer running Synthogy Ivory or Pianoteq or something like that. I understand both half-damper sustain and expression ports carry MIDI CC messages (whatever that is) so is it possible to connect the pedal to the expression jack, and get it to work as a half-pedal sustain in software? If not, I'm getting the Kawai.

Another thing- the touch. I have personally tried the Kawai MP5 at a showroom, and I immediately fell in love with it- the AHA-IV with AR feels almost exactly like a real piano. The piano sounded amazingly realistic, and so did the harpsichord (I'm a bugger for historic performances, and the MP5 has lots of temperaments). Now, I haven't tried the Roland's touch yet (PHA alpha-II) but according to reviews, some say it's inrealistic and some say it's too light and bouncy. I would like to know your opinions on this- which key action is better? Also, are the sounds on the Roland RD-300GX good? Especially the concert grand.

Thanks.


Edited by qythium (06/10/09 08:15 PM)

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#1215503 - 06/10/09 08:55 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: qythium]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10674
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
qythium, I cannot answer your MIDI-related pedal query, unfortunately.

However, I would strongly recommend trying the RD-300GX for yourself, rather than relying on the opinions of others. While I have not played this instrument, I would fully expect the Concert Grand sound(s) to be very realistic, and certainly on a par with the MP5.

One query though: may I ask how you have confirmed that the RD-300GX does not feature half-pedalling support? While it may not be mentioned in Roland's sales materials, this instrument is relatively new, and may well include such functionality.

Again, I would recommend play-testing the instrument thoroughly in order to assess its keyboard action, piano sound, and crucially, whether or not half-pedalling is supported.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1215511 - 06/10/09 09:20 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: Kawai James]
qythium Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Singapore
Yes, I have confirmed quite thoroughly that it does not support half-pedalling, by trawling through the product manual- it states quite clearly that it is an on-off switch. Grrh. Even the cheap(o) Casio keyboards have half-damper support.

And I shall be going down to test the RD-300GX today, but I'm not sure if I can trust my judgement- after all I tested the Kawai a few days ago and sort of forgot how it felt. And they're played on different speakers..

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#1215518 - 06/10/09 09:34 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: qythium]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10674
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Ah, I see. Yes, if half-pedalling is not mentioned in the owner's manual, I think you're correct - the RD-300GX does not support the feature.

Comparing two products, especially from different manufacturers, can certainly take time. Unless you're in a particular hurry to purchase, I'd continue testing for as long as possible until you eventually make up your mind.

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1215520 - 06/10/09 09:45 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: Kawai James]
qythium Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Singapore
OK, I'll do that, especially since it's such a big purchase.


Has anyone got an answer for the MIDI pedal question? i.e. can a half-damper pedal be used as a half-damper in software when plugged into the expression jack?


Edited by qythium (06/10/09 09:45 PM)

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#1217828 - 06/15/09 10:52 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: qythium]
dookulooku Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/09
Posts: 35
I'm not sure what you mean by the expression jack. The keyboard has a damper jack -- why don't you just plug in the damper/sustain pedal to the damper jack? The keyboard will send CC#64 with no modifications, which is what all piano software understand, again with no modifications.

If you plugged the pedal to the other jack, you would either have to get the keyboard to associate CC#64 with that jack (not sure if it's possible on the keyboard), or set, in software, to map whatever CC# is being transmitted to sustain.

I don't see where in the manual it says it's an on-off switch. The MIDI implementation shows that 0-127 is transmitted for CC#64 (and a number of other CC#).

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#1561245 - 11/20/10 12:51 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: qythium]
Aragon Draco Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/20/10
Posts: 1
Loc: USA
Hi, All. I own the MP5, and am extremely pleased with it. I compared it with the Roland RD- series, and because of the playability and sound quality, I chose the MP. It is significantly easier to operate, and has much better tone. I record in studio with it, and have received complements from accomplished pianists on the tone of (they think) the "Big Steinway* I used on several recordings, or that incredible "Rhodes" I used. I have never heard such a fantastic board in my life. I am addicted.

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#1561272 - 11/20/10 01:45 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: qythium]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3195
Loc: Oregon
Aragon,

I, too, recently became the owner of a (used) MP5, which replaced a Roland RD-300SX. What impresses me is the attention to detail - for example, play a chord with sustain, release the damper pedal momentarily and then reapply it, just like on an acoustic there will be a residual sustain. The piano sound is also very good - maybe not as rich/complex as Roland's, but eminently playable with excellent dynamics. The action is much better than Roland's alpha boards. The main Rhodes is good - not as dynamic as on my GEM Prp800, but the latter uses a modeled sound, and so is not strictly comparable. All in all, it's a superbly well thought-out machine.

I have been debating buying an MP6 to serve as my main gigging board. What worries me is that whereas the MP5 used Kawai's top sound engine of the time, the MP6 now uses a second-tier engine. Although there are new piano/ep samples with 88-note sampling, they will be significantly compressed. Kawai doesn't release data re memory size etc., and so one can't ascertain what has been allocated to the piano samples; but it's possibly only around half of what has been given to the MP10. Does that mean that the MP6 is a more compromised board than the MP5, despite the other upgrades? I don't know. I'm hoping FrankDaddy, who recently bought an MP6, will be able to shed some more light.

The new SuperNATURAL-equipped Rolands will provide stiff competition for Kawai. I was not impressed with the GX boards from Roland, but SN lifts the new line very high. In a number of other posts I bemoaned Kawai's unwillingness to offer a competing "lightweight" board - one that showcases their best sound engine. From comparisons of the German MP5 and MP6 demo videos, I was hard-pressed to hear much improvement between the generations. I need someone to tell me that, leaving aside the new action, the MP6 is a definitively better board.

Meanwhile I'm getting to know the MP5. Running it through a pair of Roland CM-30s for practice, it sounds great. I tried it in a rehearsal in mono and was not too impressed - it lost a lot of depth. However, I'll work on that. On shows I always run in stereo, so that's not a big issue. For me, the four-zone capability will be great as I want to try to limit myself to a single board for most gigs. At the moment my main board is the GEM Prp800, but much as I love the sound, the action is a weak link - stodgy is the word I'd use. I really would like a great sounding board with a great action. The MP5 may be sufficient, but I was hoping for better EPs (particularly the Wurlitzer); the MP6 has new EP samples. Of course, the MP10 has just about everything I need - if it weighed <50lbs I'd buy it today.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1561362 - 11/20/10 05:16 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: qythium]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10674
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
voxpops, regarding mono output, have you set the 'output mode' setting in the SYSTEM menu?

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

Top
#1561372 - 11/20/10 06:03 PM Re: Kawai MP5 vs Roland RD-300GX [Re: qythium]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3195
Loc: Oregon
James,

That's why your presence on this forum is invaluable!

I'll try making that adjustment for the next rehearsal. Thanks for the tip!
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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