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#2329923 - Yesterday at 11:35 AM Kawai MP11 black key noise?
rungabic Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 15
I finally just took delivery of a replacement MP11, after the first one arrived with some dents around the "MP11" text on the back, as well as a disturbing toxic smell.

The replacement actually has 2-3 much smaller dings in the same area, but they're so subtle that you can't feel them, and I think they're only visible if the light catches them just right. This one also has the same smell, but it seems a little less intense, so I'll assume that will dissipate over time. I'm willing to live with these minor faults.

However, I'm concerned about the "acoustic noise" coming from the black keys, after you release them and they bounce up and hit whatever it is they hit. The first octave's worth of black keys (or at least the first few keys) are reasonably quiet, but after that, every single one makes a fairly loud hollow thud as they bounce up. There may be some slight variation among them, but they're all pretty similar-sounding.

All of the white keys are nice and quiet.

Note that the black keys make this sound even if you press and hold the key, and then simply release it -- it doesn't only happen when striking a staccato note, although of course that makes it even worse.

The sound is loud enough to be heard in quiet room, wearing closed headphones. Now, I realize that key noise is often an issue with DPs, although Kawai in general is supposed to be among the quieter ones. However, although I only had the first MP11 for a day before returning it, I'm 99.9% certain that none of the keys were as loud as this -- I definitely would have noticed that.

All this is to say: is there any kind of simple user adjustment that might rectify this? The prospect of having to return this second MP11 is daunting and depressing, whether or not I have to wait another month for another one to come in.

Any advice from you guys (and James) is certainly appreciated. I figured I'd ask here, before contacting Sweetwater to say I received another bad MP11.

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#2329946 - Yesterday at 12:40 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
How long have you had this new MP11? Is the room it's in relatively steady in humidity levels and temperature? Since this is a wood action we're dealing with, that has to come into consideration that it's been jostled about in transit (maybe in the back of a hot truck) and may need some time to get used to the new room like anything made with wood would need to do.

Keep playing it and do your best to keep humidity levels steady (especially with changing seasons) and see how it is after a week.

I say this because over the summer at my house in WI, we do not have central air and humidity was all over the place. I did notice that high humidity days did effect the action a bit, and then in a few days it would go away. I'm accustomed to this behavior in acoustics, so I think it's to be expected, but if it stays this way after a week with yours, it may be defective.
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

#2329972 - Yesterday at 01:46 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
rungabic Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 15
Thanks for your response. Well, I hadn't thought about that, and it's true that it spent the weekend in FedEx's Miami warehouse (which if not climate-controlled, was definitely hot and humid). Now it's in air conditioning and will remain so, but I've only had it for 3 hours.

I'd love to think it's as simple as that. However, not only are the white keys quiet, but like I said, most of the first octave of black keys are quiet too. So I guess your theory is still possible, though I would have figured there'd be a little more consistency in how all of the black keys respond and sound.

My urgency in resolving this is simply that I had to wait almost a month for this replacement MP11, and the next available one at Sweetwater is at least 2 weeks away, and possibly they can reserve that for me if it's not already spoken for, but even if so, another week's wait and someone might grab it. So every day I wait for it to possibly acclimate, I might be adding weeks onto getting a replacement.

In the meantime, I shot a brief video of the issue, which I'm uploading to an unlisted YouTube page, in anticipation of calling Kawai US this afternoon for their advice, before I call Sweetwater to say if it needs to be replaced.

I'll post the link to the video here once it's ready, for whatever that's worth.

Edited by rungabic (Yesterday at 01:57 PM)

#2329990 - Yesterday at 03:04 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
rungabic Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 15
I just spoke with Alan at Kawai US. He did confirm that his MP11 has almost silent white keys but louder black keys. However, he watched my video and said my black keys do seem louder than his, plus he's concerned that my lowest octave is almost silent and then the black keys get louder, whereas his exhibits the opposite pattern, which he said makes more sense, in terms of the different key weights. He also tried some console DP's, as opposed to MP's, and found that the black keys were as quiet as the white ones.

Unfortunately, their hardware tech, Juan, is out today, so he's really going to be the one to weight in on this.

Alan didn't think climate was a likely explanation, since he assumes that would probably cause swelling and sticky keys if it was a factor.

The video is here:


#2329994 - Yesterday at 03:20 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11940
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
On acoustics, humidity could make just one key stand out. It does depend on the sound (I'm not able to really listen well at an airport), but humidity can cause screws to loosen/tighten which doesn't make a key stick but can make it noisy. I had this happen on my MP11, like I said, it was just a couple of keys (white ones, I think), but it went away after a bit.

Worth checking into with Juan, for sure. I hope it's an easy fix!
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

#2330100 - Yesterday at 09:01 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9167
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
rungabic, I'm sorry to read that your replacement MP11 has arrived with this issue.

I've watched the video a couple of times, and while close-up recordings such as this do tend to emphasise any characteristics, there is clearly a difference in volume between the first black notes played and the later black notes.

I'm hopeful that Alan and Juan will help you to resolve the issue, whatever the cause might be - even if this ultimately means returning the instrument to the retailer.

Kind regards,
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

#2330114 - Yesterday at 09:42 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
lolatu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/13
Posts: 462
Loc: UK
I watched the video, and that's not normal. Looks like you've been sent another lemon. Bad luck!

My guess would be that the noise comes from the middle of the keys hitting the casing as it rebounds. Somehow the casing has become deformed or improperly positioned. I doubt it's something you can fix yourself without taking it to pieces. Send it back.

"Fool me once, shame on... you. Fool me twice... you can't get fooled again," as a wise man once said.
Kawai CA95 / Pianoteq Stage / Sony MDR-7506 / Steinberg UR22; In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810

#2330128 - Yesterday at 11:04 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
Savante Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/14
Posts: 88
Loc: deep in the woods
I watched your video a couple times and then checked my MP11. On mine, the keys are all very quiet on the release, with no noticeable difference between the white and black keys. When pressing the keys down, the blacks are slightly louder than the whites, but both are so quiet that I never noticed this before. Altogether, the action is very quiet.

Yours has a very serious defect. I doubt if it's going to be possible to fix in any acceptable way, and it would probably be best not to even try to work with such a lemon. I agree with lolatu. Return it and don't settle for anything less than the instrument you paid for.

Edited by Savante (Yesterday at 11:06 PM)

#2330131 - Yesterday at 11:26 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
rungabic Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 04/25/14
Posts: 15
Thanks, guys. Not what I wanted to hear, but exactly what I suspected. So now, another 2-4 week wait most likely, and the specter of the next one being dented, smelling toxic, having funky key(s), or some new fault. Frustrating and depressing...

#2330135 - Yesterday at 11:43 PM Re: Kawai MP11 black key noise? [Re: rungabic]
Savante Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/18/14
Posts: 88
Loc: deep in the woods
Originally Posted By: rungabic
Frustrating and depressing...

I agree, and my sympathies are with you. As for the toxic smell, that too is unacceptable in my view. I am very sensitive to such smells, and I can assure you my MP11 had none. I think we discussed this before, but I would think this would also be grounds for rejecting the instrument. But the noisy key issue is much worse.

Though it might not be much fun to play the instrument with the keys being so noisy -- and the defect may affect the operation of the action in ways other than just the noise -- you might ask Sweetwater if you can keep the instrument until they have a replacement for you, then do the exchange where your current instrument is picked up when the new one is delivered. That way you won't be without an instrument while you wait.

As this is the second lemon you've received -- and they have not been minor issues -- it might be the least they could do. Besides, they can't resell the instrument you have in the condition it's in anyway. Sweetwater is a pretty good retailer in my experience and might -- should -- make some goodwill gesture to help you.


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