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#2311962 - 08/06/14 02:42 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: toddy]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: toddy


Also, I would add that the common practice of almost denigrating 'bells and whistles' by new buyers may be a little misplaced. You might really benefit from well designed and implemented sounds, recording facilities, improved amplifiers and speakers and more professional interface options. These are, I take it, the famous 'bells & whistles' of which are so often spoken....
Likewise a good point! You may never think you'll use or need something, but once you do, you may think why you didn't try it sooner.

Recording oneself can be extremely helpful in assessing how you sound as well as help prepare for a performance, share your love of music with others, learning to play with others by playing along with the accompaniments, or try your hand at composing/arranging. Having better speakers or connectivity with other equipment is another one of those hidden features that can make one's life much easier.

Until the time at which modular DPs can be purchased and you can add features a la carte, it's best to look at the DPs that have what you want, rather than focus on what they have that you don't want (or don't think you want/need). smile
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#2311963 - 08/06/14 02:42 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Morodiene]
Sushi Hammer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
Thanks for the advice. What I do have available for testing are lots of other pianos and DPs I come across. Recently, on vacation I had the opportunity play a couple grands.

In traveling, I also spend time in Guitar Centers, Sam Ash's whenever I get a chance which gives me the chance to play Yamaha keyboards and keyboards of other brands.

So given that, I've formulated a general impression of Yamahas vs. other keyboards -- and that's what led me to consider the Roland's and Kawai's.

It's a bit of gamble, but I've tried as much as possible to stack the odds in my favor.


Edited by Sushi Hammer (08/06/14 02:43 PM)
_________________________
Roland F-130R
Formerly: Yamaha P-155 | Casio CDP-120 | Yamaha P-105 | Williams Allegro (had it for two weeks)

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#2311964 - 08/06/14 02:47 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: toddy]
Sushi Hammer Offline
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Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
The reason why I know the "bells and whistles" are not a big issue for me is that, I barely touch any of them on my P-155. eek

In fact, I spend about 99% of the time on "Grand Piano" and "Rhodes."
_________________________
Roland F-130R
Formerly: Yamaha P-155 | Casio CDP-120 | Yamaha P-105 | Williams Allegro (had it for two weeks)

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#2311965 - 08/06/14 02:50 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
Sushi Hammer Offline
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Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
Initially, I was concerned about getting something that is generally considered an entry level DP -- but after actually exchanging messages with highly experience players, as well as folks who use the ES100 for gigs (with amp of course), I gained confidence in this decision.

When I get my hands on it -- I'll let you guys know the outcome.
_________________________
Roland F-130R
Formerly: Yamaha P-155 | Casio CDP-120 | Yamaha P-105 | Williams Allegro (had it for two weeks)

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#2312028 - 08/06/14 05:22 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Sushi Hammer]
Daniel Richter Offline
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Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 166
Loc: Venezuela
I will confirm you one thing, the Kawai ES100 for sure have less heavier keys than Yamaha's GH. Some people actually prefer it heavy.

ES100 keys are not light nor heavy. I find it maybe slightly light, but very little. So in regard on low price and get lighter keys than the Yamaha P155, is good choice.

Going step up like Kawai ES7 would be better of course, not for bell and whistles, but because have better sound and key action. Although I would try it first because as far I hear Kawai ES7 have a bit heavier keys than Kawai ES100.

So, good choice. I think you should be happy with it, from what you tell us.

PS: If you get your ES100 and a USB to midi cable to connect to your computer, let me know so you can help me with some test I always wanted, but noone help me so far.
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Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2312056 - 08/06/14 06:23 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Daniel Richter]
Sushi Hammer Offline
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Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
Thank you Dan for your awesome insights. Indeed, your project, "Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$" was one of the factors that led me to settle with the ES100.

Aside from other sources, I also heard back from another owner of the ES100 who replied to my questions in Amazon Answers and said:

"I've played piano for 10+ years and I am very much pleased with this keyboard. As far as the "fullness" produced by the speakers - The warmth and color doesn't sound fake and cheap like other keyboards. When compared to my 6 foot grand Kawai, this keyboard has the best possible fullness that a keyboard can offer. I have 2 Yamaha Clavinova electric pianos and to be honest, I prefer the ambiance produced by my Kawai keyboard much better. Also, the keyboard's action is almost the same as the grand. Awesome product!"

So, I'm going Wow -- how can this be possible on such an inexpensive keyboard? But I keep hearing the same comments over and over again.
_________________________
Roland F-130R
Formerly: Yamaha P-155 | Casio CDP-120 | Yamaha P-105 | Williams Allegro (had it for two weeks)

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#2312078 - 08/06/14 07:09 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Sushi: I purchased my Kawai MP11 somewhat blind as well, as I didn't have a dealer that carried it. I just understood the return policy with the vendor if I needed to do it, but I was pretty sure it was right for me. It sounds like you may be like this as well. I don't recommend buying blind, but if you understand what you're getting into and know how to return it if need be, then by all means, go for it! smile
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2312111 - 08/06/14 08:52 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Sushi Hammer]
Kawai James Online   content
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Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9347
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Good morning Sushi Hammer,

Originally Posted By: Sushi Hammer
I was, in fact, very close to deciding in favor of the ES7, until I thought about the insanity of plunking down $2500 for something I can't try in person.


Please note that the ES7 retails for $1999.

Please use the dealer locator on the KawaiUS.com website to find Kawai dealers in your area. You may also wish to visit some of the pro-oriented stores, such as ER Piano/Music Gallery on West Olympic Blvd, or Pierre's Fine Pianos on West Pico Blvd. As always, remember to call ahead before you set-off to check that the store has the piano in stock and ready to play-test.

Finally, you can also call Kawai America (based in Rancho Dominguez, LA) directly to enquire into stores that carry the instruments you are consider.

I hope this helps.

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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#2312121 - 08/06/14 09:27 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: toddy]
anotherscott Online   content
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3286
Originally Posted By: toddy
But are you sure the ES100 will be less heavy than your Yamaha GH action? I may be wrong, but I thought Kawai's RH (on the MP6) to be heavier, if anything, than Yamaha GH. I know that the ES100 has an older action, called AHA IV-F which could be substantially different from RH, or not.

FWIW, I found the P155 and MP6 to have roughly comparably heavy actions, and the ES100 to be lighter. I actually like the ES100 action best of the three.

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#2312165 - 08/06/14 10:59 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Morodiene]
Sushi Hammer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
I guess that's reality of this era.

In my business, my closest business partners and friends are people I've never met face to face. Yet, we do joint ventures on a regular basis.

In the realm of digital pianos, I'm leaning on the opinions of people I've never met, yet whom I feel are trustworthy. Nothing wrong with that. I've bought a ton of expensive stuff from Amazon on the basis of that.
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Formerly: Yamaha P-155 | Casio CDP-120 | Yamaha P-105 | Williams Allegro (had it for two weeks)

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#2312168 - 08/06/14 11:14 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Kawai James]
Sushi Hammer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
Hi James -- I've touch-based with those stores -- as well as Knauer Piano in Agoura Hills which appears to carry a lot of Kawai.

But the stores that are really close to me, i.e. Sam Ash and Guitar Center, don't have Kawai, although I see Yamaha, Roland, and Korg -- and many others there. It's strange given that in the 1980s I was reading the album notes of David Benoit's Freedom at Midnight and noticed he played a Kawai Midi Grand. Kawai has pedigree that goes back decades and deserve a spot in these mega-giant stores.

Still...I've gone full bore on researching this. I'd love to get the ES7, but at the end of the day -- I have to remind myself that I don't utilize 80% of my bells and whistles (a taboo term around here grin )on my Yamaha p-155 so I probably don't need much of what the ES7 has to offer. yes, I do understand the action is probably more nuanced, but hey -- I'm confident that I'll like the ES100 more than my p-155.


Edited by Sushi Hammer (08/06/14 11:15 PM)
_________________________
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Formerly: Yamaha P-155 | Casio CDP-120 | Yamaha P-105 | Williams Allegro (had it for two weeks)

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#2312183 - 08/07/14 12:17 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Sushi Hammer]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9347
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: Sushi Hammer
Hi James -- I've touch-based with those stores -- as well as Knauer Piano in Agoura Hills which appears to carry a lot of Kawai.


Okay, I see. Did any of those dealers have an ES7, ES100, or Kawai digital piano with similar action/sound specifications that you could try?

Originally Posted By: Sushi Hammer
But the stores that are really close to me, i.e. Sam Ash and Guitar Center, don't have Kawai, although I see Yamaha, Roland, and Korg -- and many others there.


Yes, those 'big box' chains do stock Kawai DPs (such as the MP and ES ranges), however they are typically sold online rather in brick and mortar stores. This area of business is handled by Kawai America not Kawai Japan, so I'm afraid I'm not privy to why Kawai instruments are less visible in these chain stores.

Originally Posted By: Sushi Hammer
It's strange given that in the 1980s I was reading the album notes of David Benoit's Freedom at Midnight and noticed he played a Kawai Midi Grand. Kawai has pedigree that goes back decades and deserve a spot in these mega-giant stores.


I believe there are strengths and weaknesses to selling instruments in such stores. Kawai has its roots in acoustic pianos (the company was established in 1927), and has a strong network of acoustic piano dealers throughout the US. It's therefore natural for Kawai to also sell its digital pianos (especially the more home-oriented models) through the same established dealer network.

Originally Posted By: Sushi Hammer
I'd love to get the ES7, but at the end of the day -- I have to remind myself that I don't utilize 80% of my bells and whistles (a taboo term around here grin )on my Yamaha p-155 so I probably don't need much of what the ES7 has to offer.


The ES7 has some great features, however I wouldn't necessarily refer to them as bells and whistles. The fundamental qualities of the ES7 are excellent keyboard touch and excellent sound quality - that's really what you're investing in. Just because an instrument does offer additional functions, there is no obligation to use them.

Don't get me wrong, the ES100 is a great piano - arguably one of the best models in its price range. However, as others have suggested, I wouldn't expect it to be a considerable improvement over your current Yamaha. The ES7 on the other hand, would be a big step-up.

Best of luck with your purchase.

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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#2312553 - 08/07/14 05:09 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Kawai James]
Sushi Hammer Offline
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Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
After numerous compelling suggestions to open up the field of candidates, I've launched this thread on Best Digital Keyboards for Under $2000 - Updated for 2014.
_________________________
Roland F-130R
Formerly: Yamaha P-155 | Casio CDP-120 | Yamaha P-105 | Williams Allegro (had it for two weeks)

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#2312660 - 08/07/14 08:55 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9347
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
That's a good idea, although quite a lot of work given all variety of instruments available within that price range.

By the way, I'm still a little surprised that none of the stores you contacted had the ES100, ES7, or similar instruments available for you to play-test...

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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#2313770 - 08/10/14 10:07 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
anotherscott Online   content
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3286
I finally got to spend more time on an ES100, so I thought I'd add my impressions... and while I'm at it, mention a couple of things I wasn't sure about that maybe someone (James?) can clear up, just as points of interest...

In terms of piano sound, I think the sound itself is better than Casio's (PX150/350).

Action was pretty nice. I like it better than the Yamaha GHS. It's a tougher call against the Casios. The Casios do feel a bit more piano-authentic I think, and I like their matted finish, and they have the bonus of the third sensor. OTOH, the Kawai is not bad, is a little lighter/quicker and less sluggish, and I think better connects to its internal sounds. The expressivity from quiet to loud seemed closer to what I experience on a real piano with the Kawai than with the Casio. I also liked the variety and adjustability of the Kawai's piano sounds.

The Kawai speakers crank a bit more than Casio's too (also providing some nice visceral feedback through the fingers), though are not nearly as loud as my older Roland FP2 or FP4. (The ES100 speakers would still not be loud enough to play, say, a cocktail hour gig with, which you could do with those Rolands.)

Overall, I can say that I just enjoyed playing piano more on the Kawai than on the Casio.

Perhaps as a result of putting all the dollars into sound and feel, though, the Kawai skimps on interface, it's a pretty awkward piano to get around, with only 4 patch selection buttons, and no LED display or lights that indicate what sound you have selected. I liked that you could set up registrations, but again, there are only four of them, and no light to indicate current selection.

I did not play with the MIDI settings. But although obviously somewhat minimal as a controller, I did notice in the manual that the ES100 can send MIDI Program Change messages, and while the manual is unclear, it appears that you may be able to store that in a registration. This is (or would be) a great feature, though again hindered by the fact that you can only create four registrations. You could use it, for example, to more easily grab some extra sounds from something like an attached iPad/iPhone. (Though it would be nicer if the ES100 had line inputs.)

I did not play with the split/layer feature, though I did notice the absence of a feature I like on splits/layers, you cannot pan the individual sounds left and right. There is also no easy way to adjust the balance of the two split/layered sounds on the fly (you have to use keys, that gets back to the issue of skimping on interface). You can create and save preset balances, but again, you only have those four registrations to work with. Something else I didn't get a chance to check is how the sustain pedal affects split sounds. Ideally, if you're playing LH bass, you want the sustain pedal to affect your RH piano playing but not your LH bass playing... I don't know how the ES100 handles that.

A major disappointment in the ES100 is in the alternate sounds. I know, it's a piano first, but even as a piano, there are some obvious limitations. There's no honky tonk sound, and the Rhodes/Wurli are pretty disappointing. For one thing, they have chorus effects on them that cannot be disabled.

But if I simply wanted a sub-$1k DP just to play straight piano on (using self-contained sounds), the ES100 would probably be my pick. It sounds and feels good, and the piano sounds themselves are nicely varied and customizable. For VST use, lightest travel weight, or more bells and whistles, I'd look to Casio... and if you don't need speakers, particularly the PX-5S which is by far the most flexible in terms of what you can do both internally and externally, with a lot of very usable additional sounds, a lot of controller functions. Though even as customizable as the PX-5S, I suspect I would still find the ES100 more satisfying to play strictly as a piano.

I wish Kawai made something that was really capable and also light. I'd like to see an "MP7L" - a lightweight gigging version - that would simply be the current MP7 except with a 73 key version of the (presumably lighter) action that's in the ES100. With an external PSU if need be in order to get the electronics to fit into a smaller-than-88 enclosure and/or minimize the weight. Personally, if it were light enough (i.e. no heavier than the ES100), I would buy that even if it were the same price as the full MP7!

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#2313775 - 08/10/14 10:17 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9347
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Scott.

I didn't write the ES100 manual, so am less familiar with the interface than other models, however I will check your queries and respond when I have the answers.

I think your suggestion for an MP7L would be very interesting, however I'm not sure how easy it would be to produce a sub-88-key model with the existing action design.

Just out of curiosity, may I ask where did you play the ES100?

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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#2313786 - 08/10/14 11:10 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Kawai James]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3286
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
I think your suggestion for an MP7L would be very interesting, however I'm not sure how easy it would be to produce a sub-88-key model with the existing action design.

Well if you don't know, I certainly don't. ;-) My completely uninformed thought was that, since I don't care about it being any cheaper than the MP7, it would be okay for it to have the "expense" of an 88 action built into it, so maybe instead of tooling up to specifically manufacture a new 7x key action (which might require a significant initial investment), they could take one of their 88 actions and basically lop off a bunch of it to bring it down to 7x keys to fit into a smaller and lighter enclosure. But whether this is feasible at all (or which Kawai actions might lend themselves to this), I haven't a clue! But Nord has certainly shown that there is a market for good sounding, lightweight boards, even if they are pricey and/or less fully featured than the competition, or if they don't have the best actions. I think a 30-ish pound 7x-key MP7 would be a pretty hot board, even if the action were "only" as good as that of the ES100.

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Just out of curiosity, may I ask where did you play the ES100?

I picked up a used one and had it at my house for a while. Unfortunately, I ended up needing to travel a lot, and I didn't have quite as much time with it as I would have liked within its eligible-for-return period. If the speakers had been loud enough for me to do cocktail hour gigs with it, I might have kept it, even despite the shortcomings in interface and EPs and other sounds, because it was a bit lighter and also more enjoyable to play (again, strictly as a piano) than the Roland FP2/FP4 I've used for that purpose.

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#2313788 - 08/10/14 11:25 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: anotherscott]
voxpops Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
I wish Kawai made something that was really capable and also light. I'd like to see an "MP7L" - a lightweight gigging version - that would simply be the current MP7 except with a 73 key version of the (presumably lighter) action that's in the ES100. With an external PSU if need be in order to get the electronics to fit into a smaller-than-88 enclosure and/or minimize the weight. Personally, if it were light enough (i.e. no heavier than the ES100), I would buy that even if it were the same price as the full MP7!

+1

I thought long and hard about the ES100 as a "cocktail hour" keyboard. It's the right weight ballpark, has nice piano sounds from what I've heard on YouTube, and I recall the AHA IV action in the MP5 was very competent. But the low output from the speakers means that you can never use it standalone, and the lack of line-outs is slightly problematic. I could probably get by with four preset registrations for that kind of gig, but changes from the norm would be awkward. I know it's aimed squarely at the home market, but it would be great if there was something at that weight that would suffice for small coffee house type gigs.

At the moment, in the sub 40lbs with speakers sector, the Casios have inadequate amplification, the Roland FP-50's speakers distort with LH bass (as do the Yamaha P-105's), the Korg SP-280 has no bass samples and the action is subpar, and that just leaves the Kurzweil SPS4-8 (which I've not tried) and the Yamaha P-255 (which I have). While I didn't really warm to the sound of the 255, I have to say that it is an all-round competent contender in this category.
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#2313792 - 08/10/14 11:40 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: voxpops]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3286
Originally Posted By: voxpops
At the moment, in the sub 40lbs with speakers sector, the Casios have inadequate amplification, the Roland FP-50's speakers distort with LH bass (as do the Yamaha P-105's), the Korg SP-280 has no bass samples and the action is subpar, and that just leaves the Kurzweil SPS4-8 (which I've not tried) and the Yamaha P-255 (which I have). While I didn't really warm to the sound of the 255, I have to say that it is an all-round competent contender in this category.

I just know you're going to pick up another used FP-4 one of these days!

(And actually, I have one I intend to sell, except the balance knob is finnicky. When playing splits/layers, it has a tendency to only pass the main sound unless you get the knob in just the right position, or can hold it in place with one hand while playing. ;-) I guess that pot needs to be replaced. I wish I knew a competent keyboard tech nearby.)

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#2313811 - 08/10/14 12:44 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: anotherscott]
Digitalguy Offline
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Registered: 02/04/14
Posts: 430
Loc: Switzerland
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
But Nord has certainly shown that there is a market for good sounding, lightweight boards, even if they are pricey and/or less fully featured than the competition, or if they don't have the best actions. I think a 30-ish pound 7x-key MP7 would be a pretty hot board, even if the action were "only" as good as that of the ES100.


There is indeed a demand for a shorter and light instruments, with good sound and action, and I have said it too elsewhere. And not necessarily cheaper. As for shorter pianos, there is the RD64 and while 64 is not ideal (73/6 would be perfect), it has an extension on the left that makes it longer, so it partly loses the room gained with less keys... (buttons could have been put above the keys like on FP50). As for light ones (but not shorter) there are the privias, but the sound in my opinion is not on par with the competition. And of course, the Nord, but then it's the action that is not on par with the better competitors. I think there is no need to use the top actions, the ones on ES100, Privia and in my opinion also Feel G are good enough for this purpose and better than the Fatar, than GHS and than those implemented in some Korg keyboards (like the Kross 88). While good amplification would be ideal, it's probably asking too much from a light instrument, but there are now acceptable battery powered solutions, and who knows maybe we'll all be surprised one day by some manufacturer even on this point...
_________________________
Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, Focal Spirit Pro, Shure SRH240A, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, iPad Air, iLoud, Ivory II ACD, Galaxy Vintage D, Galaxy Steinway, TrueKeys American, VILabs Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro, The Grand 2, SampleTekk Black, Addictive Keys, Ezkeys

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#2313826 - 08/10/14 01:41 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: anotherscott]
voxpops Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3083
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
I just know you're going to pick up another used FP-4 one of these days!

You may well be right! I keep a weather eye out for a good example, and still regret parting with mine. It's nowhere near as sophisticated as the latest DPs, but if you accept its limitations, it just seems to be a good fit for certain types of gig.

In the same vein, I was listening to a jazz quartet the other day whose pianist was using a P-155. It sounded great (of course it helped that the guy was a great player as well!).
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#2314601 - 08/12/14 03:56 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: peterws]
Sushi Hammer Offline
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Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 58
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: peterws
You'd be far happier with the es7.IMO. It's one of the few pianos l'd consider swapping mine for.


Just curious -- what piano you currently have?


Edited by Sushi Hammer (08/12/14 03:56 PM)
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#2319138 - 08/24/14 07:37 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
jtsn Offline
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Registered: 07/19/14
Posts: 32
Just got an ES100 (Made in China) an I'm quite impressed with it overall for the price I paid.

The key action feels great, although it requires a quite high minimum force (MIDI velocity 10-20), before it registers a sound and not just a silent note (MIDI velocity 0), which makes it hard to play pianissimo. I hope this is by design and not a defect. The highest MIDI velocity the keyboard registers is around 90, it doesn't get up to 127.

The piano sound takes some time to get used to (when coming from Yamaha), but it works. I especially like the editing/tuning options available. The noise effects (fallback noise, damper noise) feel a bit exaggerated, but they can be switched off. A thing I miss sound-wise is a good strings patch for layering ("Slow Strings" and "String Ensemble" don't do it).

The only real downside was the included German language manual, it has untranslated pages and mentions functions like 2 hours of classical piano demo pieces the device doesn't offer. Also the quick reference card could include MIDI functions (like Local Off etc.).

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#2319149 - 08/24/14 08:15 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
fizikisto Online   content
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Registered: 02/13/12
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Loc: Hernando, MS
jtsn
Can you adjust the touch settings for better pianissimo playing? Or is that midi velocity issue with the touch setting already altered?

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#2319162 - 08/24/14 08:57 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: fizikisto]
jtsn Offline
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Registered: 07/19/14
Posts: 32
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
Can you adjust the touch settings for better pianissimo playing? Or is that midi velocity issue with the touch setting already altered?

Tested the touch settings, they don't affect the minimum velocity required to get a sound, they only make the resulting sound louder or quieter (which may help, I test that later). All keypresses always register over MIDI, they are just sent as Note On velocity 0 (silent) below a specific force threshold, so I don't think it's a mechanical issue either.

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#2319164 - 08/24/14 09:07 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: jtsn]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: jtsn
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
Can you adjust the touch settings for better pianissimo playing? Or is that midi velocity issue with the touch setting already altered?

Tested the touch settings, they don't affect the minimum velocity required to get a sound, they only make the resulting sound louder or quieter (which may help, I test that later). All keypresses always register over MIDI, they are just sent as Note On velocity 0 (silent) below a specific force threshold, so I don't think it's a mechanical issue either.

This is by design, because acoustic pianos have inertia to overcome before the note sounds, and there is also the let-off that happens partway through pressing a key. If that isn't pressed with the right velocity, there will be no sound. If you have been previously playing on a piano that does not have this effect, then it will take some getting used to.
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#2319170 - 08/24/14 09:17 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: gauguin]
fizikisto Online   content
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Registered: 02/13/12
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Loc: Hernando, MS
Morodiene,
Ah yes, good catch! Though it seems like that might be something worth making into a tweakable setting. I mean, that's the power of digital pianos, we can emulate the real thing pretty well for those who want the most authentic experience possible, but we don't necessarily have to be constrained by their limitations, at least in principle.
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#2319177 - 08/24/14 10:02 AM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: fizikisto]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
Morodiene,
Ah yes, good catch! Though it seems like that might be something worth making into a tweakable setting. I mean, that's the power of digital pianos, we can emulate the real thing pretty well for those who want the most authentic experience possible, but we don't necessarily have to be constrained by their limitations, at least in principle.


There have been some on this forum who have disabled this in their DPs, (although I am not sure if they have on the ES100). Of course, that voids the warranty.

Personally, I think it's a great feature for piano sounds and not a limitation, but if you are playing non-piano sounds it would be nice to have that feature taken off.

PS- I would not call the let-off a limitation except to say it's a limitation of the player's technique that can easily be adjusted with a little effort :P
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#2319301 - 08/24/14 03:16 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: Morodiene]
jtsn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/14
Posts: 32
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
This is by design, because acoustic pianos have inertia to overcome before the note sounds, and there is also the let-off that happens partway through pressing a key. If that isn't pressed with the right velocity, there will be no sound. If you have been previously playing on a piano that does not have this effect, then it will take some getting used to.

Interesting. My only comparison is a Hoffmann & Kühne upright acoustic piano owned by a family member, which doesn't seem to support this feature. wink But it also has a lighter action than the ES100, so the threshold may just be lower.

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#2319333 - 08/24/14 05:35 PM Re: Kawai ES100: let's collect reviews and impressions here [Re: jtsn]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12044
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: jtsn
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
This is by design, because acoustic pianos have inertia to overcome before the note sounds, and there is also the let-off that happens partway through pressing a key. If that isn't pressed with the right velocity, there will be no sound. If you have been previously playing on a piano that does not have this effect, then it will take some getting used to.

Interesting. My only comparison is a Hoffmann & Kühne upright acoustic piano owned by a family member, which doesn't seem to support this feature. wink But it also has a lighter action than the ES100, so the threshold may just be lower.
Upright actions are different than grands. Most DPs try to emulate the feel of a grand. The ES100 is a lower-end model, so whether or not it successfully does this is up to debate (I have not played the ES100 to say either way).
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