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#2319660 - 08/25/14 12:12 PM RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS
Digital Piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 11
Many Kawai digital pianos have the following defect: There is a clear vibration (or bassy echo) in the left ear of the headphones (and left speaker) when hitting specific keys; the first key that has this problem is the second F key (the 12th white key starting from the right side of the keyboard).

The tech support team at Kawai USA has acknowledged the existence of this defect (in my unit and their own CL26 unit) as well as expressed the possibility that all CL26 pianos may have this problem. This defect was also found in all CS4 units tested at my local Kawai dealer, which is not surprising as those pianos seem to share the same piano sounds. Other Kawai models may or may not have this defect; further testing is required.

It has been over 10 months since I contacted Kawai regarding my defective unit. 10 months later, after countless emails and phone calls, and being told repeatedly that the USA technical team was looking into the issue, I am still waiting for my unit to be repaired/replaced. In fact, Kawai has now stopped responding to my requests that my unit be repaired or replaced (as stated in the warranty!).

This has been my experience with Kawai digital pianos and technical support.


Edited by Digital Piano (08/25/14 10:20 PM)

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#2319728 - 08/25/14 04:15 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
TrumpetMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 46
Loc: Essex, UK
Hi Digital Piano,

I own a Kawai CA63, and can confirm that I have just tested this note and can hear a slightly louder 'woody' sound in the left channel (bass end of the piano) on the Concert Grand sound.

You need to bear in mind that this sound has been sampled (recorded), note by note from a real acoustic Kawai Grand piano in a studio. Any grand piano will have many of these 'quirks' in the sound - it is just the mechanics sympathetically vibrating along with the thump of the hammers.

Sit at a Steinway and repeatedly hit notes in an unmusical way and you will hear different sounds occasionally coming out - it's everything that makes a real piano sound real.
Personally, if I ever notice anything like this, it just reminds me that it was recorded from an acoustic instrument - not a problem for me.

Similarly, when people complain how noisy the keys on a digital piano are when the volume is down - this would be the same as removing the strings from an acoustic piano - you would hear many noises.

I suspect this is why Kawai are not sending you a replacement - they know it is all part of the original recordings - I suppose they could have tweaked these things out at the recording stage, but they might end up with a plasticky, uniform sound.
All this doesn't excuse them not getting back to you though.....

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#2319749 - 08/25/14 04:58 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: TrumpetMan]
Digital Piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 11
Hi Trumpetman,

I do not believe the bassy echo is the natural result of a recording from a real acoustic piano.

The fact that the bassy echo is heard "strictly" in the left speaker/headphone (and not at all in the right speaker) is unnatural. Acoustic pianos have many "quirks," but there is no absolute stereo separation in their sounds.

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#2319776 - 08/25/14 06:26 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
TrumpetMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/13
Posts: 46
Loc: Essex, UK
I agree there is probably less stereo separation on an acoustic, but you should still be able to hear the bass coming from your left and the treble coming from the right. With the digitals there is clearly a stereo image.
I notice this most when I accidentally put the headphones on the wrong way round - everything seems in the wrong place until I reverse them again.

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#2319790 - 08/25/14 07:15 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: TrumpetMan]
Digital Piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 11
Naturally, all the lower frequencies and all the higher frequencies can be heard in both channels, although, as you said, lower frequencies may be stronger in the left channel and higher frequencies may be stronger in the right one.

But this is different. What makes the bassy echo so annoying and unnatural is the fact that it can only be heard in the left channel. This is, in my view, a defect, not a naturally occurring quirk.


Edited by Digital Piano (08/25/14 10:20 PM)

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#2319812 - 08/25/14 08:26 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11748
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
It's unfortunate you are unable to enjoy your piano, but there's probably not much you can do about it. I recommend returning and and getting something else. Perhaps a Yamaha CP4 would be more to your liking, or Roland RD-800?


Edited by Morodiene (08/25/14 08:28 PM)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2319832 - 08/25/14 09:06 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Morodiene]
Digital Piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 11
Thank you, Morodiene, for your support.

Unfortunately, USA Kawai has, so far, refused to honor their warranty and take the piano back or replace it, although the technical support team has acknowledged the existence of this defect.

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#2319839 - 08/25/14 09:17 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9042
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hello Digital Piano,

As explained in my response to your other post:

Originally Posted By: myself
The characteristic you are hearing may have been present on the Kawai EX concert grand sampled for (and therefore replicated in) Kawai's digital instruments.

If this is indeed the case, I don't believe replacing the instrument will rectify the situation.

Please note that the CL26 utilises 'Harmonic Imaging' sound technology, while the CS4 utilises the more advanced 'Progressive Harmonic Imaging' technology. Both systems feature full 88-key piano sampling, however, which perhaps explains why the characteristic you are hearing is present on both models, despite their different specifications.


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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#2319851 - 08/25/14 09:52 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Kawai James]
Digital Piano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 11
Thank you, James, for your response. Unfortunately, as I already pointed out, although all natural piano sounds can be heard in both channels, this bassy echo is heard only in the left channel! This is, in my view, a defect, not a naturally occurring sound found in the grand piano used for sampling.


Edited by Digital Piano (08/25/14 09:53 PM)

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#2320093 - Yesterday at 08:45 AM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11748
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Digital Piano
Thank you, Morodiene, for your support.

Unfortunately, USA Kawai has, so far, refused to honor their warranty and take the piano back or replace it, although the technical support team has acknowledged the existence of this defect.
What about the shop you purchased it from?

You can always sell it and get something else. Since it's barely used you can get most of your money back for it I'm sure.

Personally, one note doesn't ruin a piano for me, especially at extreme ends of the keyboard that are used less often. In the context of playing a piece, I'd be really surprised this would be so noticeable as to make the instrument unplayable.


Edited by Morodiene (Yesterday at 08:46 AM)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2320185 - Yesterday at 12:24 PM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
fizikisto Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 397
Loc: Hernando, MS
digital piano
I understand your frustration. The nord steinway D sample is absolutely beautiful, except some horrible dissonant resonances on a couple of notes. I only noticed it when I was practicing scales. I doubt I ever would have heard it playing normal pieces. But unfortunately it's one of those things that once you hear it, you can't fail to notice it. It just grates on my nerves so much; that sample is unusable for me. I would have been seriously upset if I had been stuck with it (fortunately the Nord keyboards have many other options).

I agree that Kawai should honor the warranty if they have acknowledged the problem as a defect. But if that continues to be a hassle, I think Morodiene has given you the best option. Return it to the shop you purchased it from (or trade it in) if possible, or perhaps sell it to a third party and try to recoup your losses.

Some other options:

Donate it to a church or charity and take a tax write off.
Consult a Lawyer and have them draft a letter (that might get a response). Though that generally won't be free and probably isn't worth the hassle.
Live with it. That sounds snarky, but it isn't meant that way. I really like the sound of kawai's pianos. Maybe if you can accept the quirks you can grow to like it, or at least not mind it.

Not a happy situation in any case, but I hope that you find the best possible solution.

Warm Regards
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2320456 - Today at 01:30 AM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
pianobear100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/12/05
Posts: 61
Loc: Atlanta
Digital Piano,

Interesting reading your comment. Since I have just purchased and received my MP11. I rushed in and turn it on to see if I could hear what you were commenting about.

At first, I couldn't hear it and wondered if I was playing the right note. Then I heard it. It sounded like a little warble in the decay after a second or two after I pushed down the key. I then tried the F# above it and didn't hear it. I tried the G, one step above the F and though it wasn't as loud, it was there too. I listened to the F again, sometimes I didn't think I heard it, but then I did. I think my ear was playing tricks on me as I had to listen for it to hear it. I listen to one side of the headphone, then the other side. It was louder on the right side, but it was still there, but softer on the left side.

Some of the notes of my 7 foot Steinway grand don't always sound very good by themselves. Some of them are rather harsh around the break area. My point being that there is not a perfect piano and that some of the notes sound better than others. Some on my Steinway, which is relative new, sound almost ugly when you press just one note and listen really, really closely. Although I will admit, I didn't hear something that sounded like a warble to my ears.

But when you play them in context of music, where you have a melody with harmony and no note is sounded very long by itself, & you play with expression, all the imperfections go away when you play a piece of beautiful music. It is similar to a movie, when you look at the movie of a beautiful person, they look fantastic, but if you look at it frame by frame, well some of the frames don't present the person looking so good.

I am unfortunately a perfectionist and I can look at something that is 99.9% beautiful, but my eyes will pick up on the imperfection immediately. This is especially true with a mark or imperfection on my piano. I looked my Kawai over with Eagle Eyes since the box was in really bad shape. To my relief, the quality control inspector had made sure my Kawai didn't have any surface imperfections on it. smile If it had, I would have looked at the imperfection every time I went to the piano to play.

Unfortunately, many people, including myself, can not always see the forest for the trees.

The only advise I can offer is to spend as much energy on improving your playing as you are spending on trying to make something sound different which it can't. People will notice your improved playing a lot and will never hear the warble.

It is kind of like the Serenity prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

All my comments were meant to help and not criticize your frustration with your digital piano.
_________________________
Don

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#2320510 - Today at 07:34 AM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: pianobear100]
petes1 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 101
Originally Posted By: pianobear100
....The only advise I can offer is to spend as much energy on improving your playing as you are spending on trying to make something sound different which it can't. People will notice your improved playing a lot and will never hear the warble. ....


This has to be one of the best posts that I've seen on this site in the last 6 months. Thank you pianobear for putting some much needed wonderful perspective on this, and for putting it in a thoughtful and non-critical way. I look forward to seeing more of your posts on this site!

/Pete

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#2320520 - Today at 07:59 AM Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
emenelton Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 468
The OP sold the piano and bought a Yamahaha a couple of days ago.

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#2320524 - 55 minutes 43 seconds ago Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: emenelton]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11748
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: emenelton
The OP sold the piano and bought a Yamahaha a couple of days ago.

Let's hope it bears up to their scrutiny.

Like pianobear100, I have yet to encounter a perfect instrument, digital or acoustic. But I can make music on all of them, and that's their purpose. If you look for something wrong, sure you'll find it but unfortunately you will be missing out on chances to make something beautiful.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2320531 - 38 minutes 45 seconds ago Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5008
'Seek, and ye shall find', as a sage once said......

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#2320547 - 8 minutes 59 seconds ago Re: RECURRING DEFECT IN KAWAI DIGITAL PIANOS (review) [Re: Digital Piano]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9042
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
pianobear100, Morodiene, thank you for your well-reasoned posts.

Having raised this matter with a colleague at Kawai America, I am confident that staff in Japan and the US went beyond the conventional support procedures to satisfy the OP.

'There's two side to every story', as another sage once said...

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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