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#2447449 - Yesterday at 11:11 AM Choosing between Kawai models
dave11235 Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 01/07/06
Posts: 4
Hi all,

Almost 10 years ago (!) when I was still a student, I posted here for digital piano buying advice. I ended up following recommendations for a Casio PX-110, which at the time turned out to be the perfect option for me in terms of overall value, convenience, portability, etc. So a long-overdue thanks for helping me back then!

Ten years later, I have a decent job, a bigger budget, a permanent place to live, and much better piano skills. I took lessons for 10+ years as a child, then practiced very little for several years, then began playing informally on the PX-110, and in the last few years have started being a bit more serious, e.g. taking lessons again. I mostly practice these days on the (old, lower-end) acoustic grands at the local university. The PX-110 is good for practicing fingerings, etc., but not very good for technique -- my piano teachers explicitly have warned me that I shouldn't rely on digitals for learning or practicing technique.

So I'm thinking about upgrading to a new digital piano that would have more realistic touch, so that I can practice at home. Great sound is good too, of course, though I can't imagine ever using the piano for serious performances or recordings -- I'm just an amateur. I mostly play classical so do not have much need for fancy digital features. I might use them if I had them though, I guess. And finding something that looks decent in my living room would be good too. My maximum price point is around $2000 probably.

I know that eventually I need to visit a dealer to try some in person, but I live in the middle of nowhere and the closest dealers for most models are ~2 hours away. So I want to do as much homework ahead of time as possible.

After much, much reading on here and elsewhere, I'm mostly considering Kawais for no particular reason except that I like playing their acoustics and they generally get good reviews. Beyond that, I'm pretty confused about all of the differences between models. It's easy enough to find the specifications online but much harder to figure out which features I would actually use and notice, and which I wouldn't.

My top candidates at the moment are the CN-25, the CE-220, or the ES-7, roughly in that order. I wonder if anyone has compared these head-to-head and has any comments? I understand the CE-220 has a bit older action and sound, but has wood keys -- is that something that is really important in practice?

(Also, just as a sanity check, I assume that any of the above are going to be noticeably better than my old PX-110, right? Do you think they are realistic enough to address my piano teacher's skepticism about using digitals to practice technique, or should I really be considering acoustics instead?)

Sorry for long-winded note -- thanks to anyone who has comments!

David

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#2447463 - Yesterday at 11:35 AM Re: Choosing between Kawai models [Re: dave11235]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12943
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Yes, you are in a totally new world with your budget and recent advances made in the last 10 years in digital pianos.

One question: is there a reason you haven't looked at an acoustic upright? Practice room pianos are notoriously in terrible repair and not necessarily the best to practice on unless you don't have any other options - worse than your PX-110, IMO.

I think in your budget you can find a good upright from someone who is in need of selling, but it may take some time to find a good deal.

If an upright is out of the question, then I think any of those DPS would work, but the ES7 is a slab-style, so it won't meet your needs for a nice-looking piece of furniture.

The wood keys really make no difference in feel or sound, so I personally wouldn't choose a DP for that reason. The most important thing is the action, and you'll have to test them out to see what works best for you.

So plan a day to go visit a dealer, maybe make a trip out of it - find a restaurant to try out, go sightsee, etc. Bring a pair of headphones with you in case there are other people there playing, but also you will want to listen without headphones as well. Bring a couple of pieces of contrasting music if you don't have them memorized and take your time in testing them out. Best to not buy right-out while you're there, but go home, write down what notes you remember about each one, and sleep on it. If one doesn't stick out as something you absolutely love, then continue your search.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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#2447642 - Yesterday at 05:48 PM Re: Choosing between Kawai models [Re: Morodiene]
dave11235 Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 01/07/06
Posts: 4
Thanks very much, Morodiene!

The acoustic question is a very good one. I would honestly love one but I felt like the digital would be more practical, since I could for instance play it at night without disturbing anyone. I also feel a bit overwhelmed about buying an acoustic, in terms of finding a used one, knowing whether it's in good shape, evaluating whether it's a good deal or not, etc., and also in maintaining it (especially since my house is a bit drafty and temperatures and humidities seem to vary a lot). But this anxiety is probably all misplaced and I should probably reconsider.

It sounds like in your experience, for a player of my type, a used acoustic would be the way to go?

Thanks!

David

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#2447646 - Yesterday at 05:57 PM Re: Choosing between Kawai models [Re: Morodiene]
Grandman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 289
Loc: Usa
Originally Posted By Morodiene
Yes, you are in a totally new world with your budget and recent advances made in the last 10 years in digital pianos.

One question: is there a reason you haven't looked at an acoustic upright? Practice room pianos are notoriously in terrible repair and not necessarily the best to practice on unless you don't have any other options - worse than your PX-110, IMO.

I think in your budget you can find a good upright from someone who is in need of selling, but it may take some time to find a good deal.

If an upright is out of the question, then I think any of those DPS would work, but the ES7 is a slab-style, so it won't meet your needs for a nice-looking piece of furniture.

The wood keys really make no difference in feel or sound, so I personally wouldn't choose a DP for that reason. The most important thing is the action, and you'll have to test them out to see what works best for you.

So plan a day to go visit a dealer, maybe make a trip out of it - find a restaurant to try out, go sightsee, etc. Bring a pair of headphones with you in case there are other people there playing, but also you will want to listen without headphones as well. Bring a couple of pieces of contrasting music if you don't have them memorized and take your time in testing them out. Best to not buy right-out while you're there, but go home, write down what notes you remember about each one, and sleep on it. If one doesn't stick out as something you absolutely love, then continue your search.


Great advice. thumb

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#2447672 - Yesterday at 08:03 PM Re: Choosing between Kawai models [Re: Morodiene]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10744
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By Morodiene
So plan a day to go visit a dealer, maybe make a trip out of it - find a restaurant to try out, go sightsee, etc. Bring a pair of headphones with you in case there are other people there playing, but also you will want to listen without headphones as well. Bring a couple of pieces of contrasting music if you don't have them memorized and take your time in testing them out. Best to not buy right-out while you're there, but go home, write down what notes you remember about each one, and sleep on it. If one doesn't stick out as something you absolutely love, then continue your search.


Yep, great advice! wink

I like the suggestion of building a day trip around visiting dealers' stores and play-testing various instruments. A two hour drive is nothing to be sniffed at, but if you use the trip to also explore a different city, have a nice meal, go shopping, etc. it's not so bad.

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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#2447677 - Yesterday at 08:13 PM Re: Choosing between Kawai models [Re: dave11235]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 10744
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By dave11235
My top candidates at the moment are the CN-25, the CE-220, or the ES-7, roughly in that order. I wonder if anyone has compared these head-to-head and has any comments? I understand the CE-220 has a bit older action and sound, but has wood keys -- is that something that is really important in practice?


Of the three instruments, the CN25 has the most modern keyboard action: 'Responsive Hammer III' with graded hammers, Ivory Touch, triple-sensor, let-off, and counterweights in all 88 keys. The ES7's 'Responsive Hammer II' action is a little older, and lacks the counterweights. The CE220 utilises the venerable 'AWA Grand Pro II' wooden key action. This uses older technology, and consequently lacks the Ivory Touch, triple-sensor, and let-off, but does have counterweights attached keys in the bass region. However, despite its maturity, the long, solid wooden keys and seesaw-like movement of the action do feel incredibly realistic. This same keyboard was used in the MP8II stage piano and other leading 'Concert Artist' models of the time, and remains a very well regarded keyboard action, despite lacking some of the more modern features.

I hope this helps - best of luck with your search!

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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#2447793 - 32 minutes 13 seconds ago Re: Choosing between Kawai models [Re: dave11235]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12943
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By dave11235

It sounds like in your experience, for a player of my type, a used acoustic would be the way to go?



It may be worth looking into.On this website is a link for the Piano Buyer. If you click that you can read about things to look for in an acoustic piano. When you find what you think may be a good deal and you've checked it out personally, before you buy you should have a piano tech look it over. If you take lessons your teacher should be able to recommend someone. You will have to pay for them to check it out, but you will have the peace of mind that you are getting a good deal. Don't go based off of what someone you haven't paid says the piano is worth, because you don't know if they are being accurate or just trying to get more for it.


Edited by Morodiene (19 minutes 9 seconds ago)
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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