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#2007089 - 12/31/12 02:31 PM Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha
Tjpp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/12
Posts: 32
Hi guys-

I am new to the forum but have spent quite a bit of time reading different posts over the last few weeks! This forum is a wealth of information, thank you to everyone for sharing such great information. We are slowly getting our options narrowed. Our situation is, we have an 8 year old son who has been playing for almost 2 years on a small used yamaha keyboard. He has done quite well and enjoys it, it is close to our heart also because he has a mild-moderate hearing loss! He is at a point where we need to jump up to a full size keyboard. We have a younger daughter who we will probably also do piano lessons with and an older son who plays cello. My husband loves music and played violin younger and will spend time playing and learning with the kids. (I played piano when younger and wish I stayed with it, however I love listening to it!). So, originally we were thinking about a used upright or clavinova (yamaha dealer nearby), but feel like a digital or hybrid is probably a better fit for us. My piano playing son loves Coldplay and definitely likes to be able to play a variety of voices (I think that is the term.)

We looked at the Clavinova CLP-480 and 430. Of course, 480 sounded better but it's a big price difference. Then I read on this forum about the yamaha NU1, we made a trip to a different dealer who had one to see and touch. Sounded amazing (we both have quite a sensitive ear), very nice touch, less $ than the 480, loved the simplicity of look (we are both designers, so unfortunately looks matter). The ability for it also to "play" songs was an unexpected and fun feature. of course, the ability to plug in and practice while the little one is sleeping is great. My husband was wondering with the MIDI interface, can you import more voices?

Then I came back to the forum and was reading about the Kawai ca65, 95 and cs9. We will try to make a trip to a kawai dealer as well to check out in person. This is a big decision so we will take the time to look around. We really want to keep our pricing at or around 4k. (love idea of 2-3, but want this to be a long term good choice.). Is there anything we should look for or compare closely? I believe we are narrowing down to the NU1 or the CA65 or 95. Seems like the CS9 is not reviewed as highly as the NU1 Or advice/experience you have on these? Also, with my son's hearing loss, are there any features that may benefit him?

Sorry for the long story and questions...I look forward to being able to post on our findings and feedback!

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#2007102 - 12/31/12 02:59 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
The MIDI interface is not for importing new sounds into the piano. Rather it's for sending information about the key and pedal presses to an external device. Essentially, MIDI records the actual performance (as a set of actions, not sounds). You can then save the MIDI to a file and render it on a different electronic instrument as if you had performed on it. Also many people in this forum use the MIDI instrument to play external instruments (such as software pianos on a computer) in real time from the keyboard, thereby bypassing the built-in tone generator on the piano. You can have lots of different types of voices and digital audio software (recording, mixing, etc.) on a computer and you can control them from your keyboard using the MIDI interface.

Both the NU1 and CA95/96 are high-end digital pianos and are likely the best thing you can find in your price range. I can't give you any guidance on which is better because it will be up to your subjective opinion. There's nothing wrong with any of these options. To get the complete picture, go to a Roland distributor and check out their high-end offerings as well.

I wouldn't say the CS9 is poorly reviewed. Quite the contrary. It's just a member of the last generation of Kawai's technology. It's very similar to the CA93 or CA63, but in an upright case so it looks awesome. However, it's not available in the United States. Your post doesn't indicate where you are, but if you are in the US, this will not be an option.

When the NU1 was announced at NAMM last year there was considerable scoffing at it because it features an upright action, rather than a grand action like its brothers the N1, N2, and N3 (which exceed your budget). However, over the course of the year I have heard many people in this forum who have played or purchased it and been very happy. From among the pianos in your lineup (and price range) I suspect the NU1 is a very likely winner.

Another possibility is to get a CA93 or 63. They have been superceded by the 95 and 65 but this just barely happened. They are still very fine instruments and you might be able to get them at excellent prices.

Another thing to be aware of is that NAMM 2013 is happening from Jan 24-27 and this is where new models are frequently announced. A number of forum members are waiting until after NAMM to buy, either because they want the new models or they hope current models will be replaced then and become cheap. The NU1 and CA95/CA96 are all brand new this year, so they will almost certainly not be replaced at NAMM. But you never know what new stuff might pop up.


Edited by gvfarns (12/31/12 03:19 PM)

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#2007107 - 12/31/12 03:16 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: Tjpp
Hi guys-
We really want to keep our pricing at or around 4k. (love idea of 2-3, but want this to be a long term good choice.). Is there anything we should look for or compare closely?


You can also try Roland HP-507 and HP-505. The second will be below $3K (unless in EP finish which is more expensive), and 507 sounds great and costs a little bit less than Clavinova CLP 480 and Kawai-95 I believe.
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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#2007111 - 12/31/12 03:43 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
From all the options and from your particular needs and budget I don't think you are going to better the NU1.

I'm not entirely sure I'd bother looking elsewhere in these particular circumstances. But for what it's worth the competitive products have some very tangible good points such as the Kawais already mentioned and the Roland HP-507 but I think the NU1 is a level above them; Real piano action and Yamaha's newest sound source. And you really like the look of it - and to you that is important. The only one with a look that might give it a run for its money is the Kawai CS9 but it is my understanding that it is not available in North America.

Good luck!

Steve
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#2007152 - 12/31/12 05:20 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
Tjpp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/12
Posts: 32
Thank you for the replies, we will check the Roland out as well! We just want to make a solid and long term choice!

One more question, we plan on keeping this for a long time, but should our needs change, which holds its value better?

We are located in the US, Wisconsin. So it sounds like the cs9 is not even an option? Funny enough when we went to the closest yamaha dealer, they did not have have the NU1 and they were curious on how we even heard of it. Supposedly they have one coming in in a few weeks but it is spoken for. We called a different dealer in a different city and they had one on their floor. That was the one we went and checked out. They were very nice too.

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#2007153 - 12/31/12 05:30 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Tjpp
One more question, we plan on keeping this for a long time, but should our needs change, which holds its value better?


Well, none of them are investments as such! I think whatever the future holds the Yamaha would be the most saleable because there is so much more general recognition of the brand. I can't say if that would translate into a higher residual value though but it might just be easier to sell to a greater number of people.

Furthermore I would imagine the Yamaha's action could be worked on/tightened up/regulated etc because it is basically the same action as a Yamaha upright. I wouldn't envisage that being required for many years but it's perhaps another theoretical advantage to the Yamaha.
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#2007186 - 12/31/12 07:29 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9147
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Tjpp, welcome to the forum!

As others have noted, the Yamaha NU1 is arguably the most suitable instrument for your family's needs. It looks beautiful, has an excellent sound and features a real upright piano action. My only reservation is that this model is relatively limited in terms of additional sounds and features, whereas you suggest that you son would like to play a variety of voices.

The Kawai CS9 is certainly a close competitor, however this model is unfortunately not available in North America. Moreover, as others have stated, the action and sound technology are a generation older than the latest Kawai CA95/CA65 models.

Finally, I would also suggest trying Roland's premium offerings, such as the HP-505, HP-507, and LX-15, although the latter may exceed your $4000 budget.

Best of luck with your search, and happy new year!

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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#2007245 - 12/31/12 09:28 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: EssBrace]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Well, none of them are investments as such! I think whatever the future holds the Yamaha would be the most saleable because there is so much more general recognition of the brand. I can't say if that would translate into a higher residual value though but it might just be easier to sell to a greater number of people.

Furthermore I would imagine the Yamaha's action could be worked on/tightened up/regulated etc because it is basically the same action as a Yamaha upright. I wouldn't envisage that being required for many years but it's perhaps another theoretical advantage to the Yamaha.


Both of these comments are exactly what I was going to say. No digital piano holds value particularly well (nor do many acoustics). The Yamaha will still be a household name in digital pianos (thanks to the clavinova) probably forever, so I suspect it's good on the used market.

On the other hand, people on the used market are usually not looking to put out a lot of money. Those willing to shell out a lot tend to buy new. Thus any expensive piano (like, over $1000) is going to lose you a good bit of money on the resale. It may also take a long time to resell. Probably your best bet for resale would be to trade it in for credit on a new Yamaha, if the time comes that you want to do that.

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#2007480 - 01/01/13 01:47 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
I wouldn´t recomend the Roland 500 series because your son has an eye on modern pop and rock music. It would be excellent for classical piano music, due to its warm mellow sound and its excellent expressivness. But other sounds, like jazz organs, brass or synth sounds, which your son quickly might become interested in as well, are not comfortable to access at all. I am very frustrated about this on my Hp 505. The Yamahas are doing a much better job here! There could be of interest for you to also have a look on the Yamaha 470, because it is cheaper than the 480 but still featuring an excellent key action and allover quality.
I have no experience with Kawai, only therefore don´t mention them.
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#2007536 - 01/01/13 03:45 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
thercman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/12
Posts: 126
Loc: Spokane WA, United States
For Tjpp looks seem to be important, hence the upright appearance. However for a digital piano, it seems like you are losing out on features to have the nice enclosure. So for somebody interested in pop/rock wouldn't it make more sense to have a stage piano? Wouldn't this lower the initial cost and add more voices? Just trying to add food for thought...
_________________________
NP2, Arturia Laboratory 61

Addictive Keys, Kawai EX Pro
Heil PR-40 Mic, Allen & Heath Mixer, Yamaha HS80

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#2007574 - 01/01/13 05:07 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
Tjpp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/12
Posts: 32
Thanks for all the great thoughts! Very true thoughts on the investment or used market. it is very similar to where we started out, thinking we could find a used upright or digital but its not that simple...the digital technology has improved and the uprights are classic but are limited as far as the silent options and sounds. Then we thought we should also look at new. we have friends who have a yamaha baby grand and our son hops on that every chance he gets when at there house, but our budget and house size make that pretty much a non-option. when we started with the clavinovas, we were impressed with there sound and flexibility (both in size and functions) but were surpised more at the cost, especially of the 480. The NU1, seemed less cost, great sound and action, but a little limited on the voices. I still think we will check out the kawai and the roland, just have to find the dealers. i am a huge research person before big purchases. And we struggle with the looks part and balancing with cost. How do the clavinovas 470/480 compare with the kawai 65 and 95 and Roland? Sounds like the Roland may be limited?

With the NU1, if I understand this right, you can, via midi, export the song action and apply different voices on GarageBand or like programs? So the voices aren't on the piano itself (other than the few it comes with) but mixed or layered via your iPad? Can you import songs for the piano to play and listen to?

Can I ask what is considered a stage piano?

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#2007584 - 01/01/13 05:30 PM Re: Trying to figure out the best choice, kawai and yamaha [Re: Tjpp]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2356
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Tjpp


With the NU1, if I understand this right, you can, via midi, export the song action and apply different voices on GarageBand or like programs? So the voices aren't on the piano itself (other than the few it comes with) but mixed or layered via your iPad? Can you import songs for the piano to play and listen to?

Can I ask what is considered a stage piano?


Yes with the NU1 you can play another instrument on a PC or iPad, such as software VST piano or GarageBand. This is done by connecting midi from the piano to the devices. This is a way of adding additional sounds/voices to the DP. You could also connect the sound output from those devices back to NU1 and use its speakers, although that is often less than ideal.

You can also play back on theNU1 midi songs), running or performed on a PC or iPad or other device, by using midi from those devices to the NU1.

A stage piano is a portable slab, sometimes without speakers, and usually with different sounds that can be mixed and stored as presets so they can be quickly accessed. Sometimes there are compromises with a stage piano, such as looks, or keyboard action, and I suppose poor or no speakers. But there can be a large amount of function overlap that makes stage pianos appealing for home use.

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