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Topic Options
#2508303 - 02/07/16 07:11 PM VPC1 or MP11: Redux
Henry Pasternack Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 8
Thinking of pulling the trigger on one of these, since my Schulze-Pollmann upright shares the same room as my wife's office -- and she's working all the time.

I can't get an audition of the VPC1 around here. The local dealer said he's stopped stocking the VPC1 because customers aren't interested in the complexity of the virtual instrument setup.

I played the MP11 yesterday. Or tried to. There was a guy in the shop who wouldn't stop playing seventies and eighties schmaltz pop at full volume and it was too loud to hear the MP11 even with headphones.

My top priority is the action. I thought the MP11 was very playable. Perhaps the keys felt like they could use a bit more mass for my taste, and I couldn't decide if the lack of "character" was a good thing or a bad thing. It's highly subjective, since I'm biased knowing I'm playing a digital. The same action in a Steinway case, I might rate as superb and extremely uniform. I need more time to decide.

I prefer the idea of the VPC1, since I would almost never use the built-in features of the MP11. I'm a sort-of entry-level advanced classical player and often get up on the keys; I'm nervous about the shorter length of the VPC1 keysticks.

Like others have said, what I really would love is a VPC2 with the Grand Feel II action, but I know that isn't going to happen. I've read every review and discussion I can find of the two keyboards, but haven't seen much in-depth analysis of the action of the VPC1 keyboard compared to an acoustic grand.

Realistically, money isn't really the main consideration here, so the MP11 is probably the safest bet. Still, I'd be grateful for any comments from VPC1 users.

-Henry

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#2508305 - 02/07/16 07:20 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13527
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
When I owned a VPC1, I felt the action was identical to my Petrof, which is a very heavy Renner action (but not impossible to play). Then I traded in for the MP11. It's a bit lighter feeling due to the key length, but both actions feel great and I'm sure you'd get accustomed to either one.

If you are comfortable with using software piano sounds, then the VPC1 is an excellent instrument and you'll be able to play advanced classical piano on it with no problems. If you think you will want to have on-board sounds, and/or use your DP as a MIDI controller for other instruments as well (with a need for the Mod wheel) then the MP11 is the one you want.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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#2508311 - 02/07/16 07:38 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 11318
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hello Henry,

Morodiene's post highlights the main differences between these two models, from someone with experience of both.

Just out of curiosity, may I ask where you are based?
It is a little discouraging to hear the dealer's reluctance to stock the VPC1, however I appreciate that the majority of purchases will be made online.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

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#2508339 - 02/07/16 09:19 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
Henry Pasternack Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 8
Thanks for the replies. James, you have a PM with the information you requested.

I don't have much to add that hasn't been said elsewhere. The simplicity and elegance of the VPC1 are very appealing. But the benefit of the Grand Feel II action, even if more theoretical than practical, is compelling and that would probably sway me toward the MP11 in the end.

I have to think about this a bit because I live in a small house and I need to find a place to put a new keyboard.

FWIW, I bought a P90 about twelve years ago but ended up selling it because, honestly, the action hurt my fingers. Not that this needs to be said, but the MP11 keyboard is light years ahead of the P90.

-Henry

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#2508355 - 02/07/16 10:55 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
Strat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I'm in Toronto and no dealer would stock a VPC1 to try. When requesting any info on one, any employee would redirect me to the MP11, CA67, or CA97.

Had no choice but to order one. If I dislike it, I'll return it.
_________________________
Started playing in mid-June 2007. Self-taught... for now. :p

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#2508411 - Yesterday at 08:23 AM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
propianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/29/08
Posts: 134
Loc: England
Sam Ash in 34th Street, New York had both VPC1 and MP11 on demo on shop floor last time I went in there.
VPC1 uses RM3 Grand II action, which is also used in kawai CA17 model, so maybe if you can find a CA17 and play it with the power switched off, that would give you an idea of the VPC1...
Likewise the CA65 and CA95 have the same Grand Feel action of MP11, if you happen to find either of those.
Basically, MP11 covers everything the VPC1 can do anyway, but with many extra useful features too, so it's the wisest choice of the two, although the minimialist clean look of VPC1 and slightly lower price is very tempting!

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#2508491 - Yesterday at 02:29 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
DeskDesign Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/15
Posts: 33
Hi Henry

I was more or less in the same boat as you.

Two times I visited our local piano shop. They had the MP11 but didn't stock the VPC1. However they did have another Kawai on display with the RM3grand2 action (same as VPC1) so that did the job just fine.

The first time that I demoed the instruments side by side I was totally biased, thinking that the MP11 would be so much better merely because of it being the latest and lighter key action. Also the grain of the black keys - that genuine ebony veneer feeling - added a nice touch.

The second time however, my gut feeling and personal taste won the argument: they preferred the more realistic VPC1 action. Yes I said it; more realistic. And what pushed me over the edge was the fact that there was a Yamaha Avantgrand sitting a couple of meters away from the MP11. Now the Avantgrand - a digital hybrid piano - has a *real* piano action with full sized hammers, 100% keylengths (much longer than the GF2!), true mechanics etc. And you know what ... it's action was even heavier than the VPC1.

The thing is; you don't realize how heavy the action is on an acoustic piano because you hear the sound; and that somehow clouds the experience. But the Avantgrand was switched off, so there was no sound, and my senses were only given the feel of the keybed, which came much, much closer to a VPC1. This made me realize that most real piano's have a pretty heavy action. My upright at home for example; same story. Also, I became a little bothered with the rather artificial grain feeling of the black keys on the MP11. It was no game changer on its own, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't a 'pro' any longer. (This ebony structure grain is more subtle / neutral on the VPC1.)

A final note is that I owned an MP8 for 8 years before switching to the VPC1. Both of these actions are quite similar, so I might have chosen the VPC1 also for familiarity reasons.

All in all, there's good and lesser things to be said about both MP11 and VPC1. And we are talking about details here. Except for the built-in sounds of the MP11 versus the naked VPC1, the differences are rather small.

One more thing; don't be bothered much with the key length; there isn't really that much of a difference (1"?). In the end it's how you respond to the feel of the keyboard, so don't let your mind get in the way of that gut feeling, thinking that a longer key automatically is better.

Hope this was helpful to you!
Let us know what you end up choosing :-)

Emanuel


Edited by DeskDesign (Yesterday at 05:27 PM)
Edit Reason: clarification & typo

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#2508506 - Yesterday at 04:15 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: DeskDesign]
pianistje Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/14/15
Posts: 17
Loc: The Netherlands
Originally Posted By DeskDesign

A final note is that I owned an MP8 for 8 years before switching to the VPC1. Both of these actions are quite similar, so I might have chosen the VPC1 also for familiarity.
Emanuel

Great ! I still use an MP8, because i personally thought the MP8/2 and MP10 played worse than the MP8 !
Now i have played all the latest and greatest Kawai's, but not at home after really adjusting to the new feel......you have !

Do you think the VPC1 is better than the MP8 ? I know fast repetitions are much easier, but apart from that....do you feel you are playing a better keybed ?

Thanks......


Edited by pianistje (Yesterday at 04:16 PM)

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#2508528 - Yesterday at 05:21 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: pianistje]
DeskDesign Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/15
Posts: 33
Originally Posted By pianistje

Do you think the VPC1 is better than the MP8 ? I know fast repetitions are much easier, but apart from that....do you feel you are playing a better keybed ?


Yes, as a matter of fact I do.
The VPC1 is superior tot the MP8 in my opinion.
It feels more crisp and fresh, and not only because it's brand new.
The old AWA action felt a bit lazy in comparison.

One thing the MP8 didn't have is the 'let off'; a nice addition to the action especially when playing softly.

The VPC1 inspires me more then the MP8, partly because it's so humble in design, partly because the keybed indeed feels superior / more realistic to me.

On the down side, the key spacing on the VPC1 isn't that disciplined. The keys were more evenly spaced on the MP8. There seems to be a wider/smaller gap between some of the white notes. Talking 10ths of a millimeter here, nothing serious really, but it is noticeable.

A detail; when switching on the MP8, it would send a "midivolume=0" to my sequencer. Pretty annoying when this would happen mid session! The VPC1 is clean in that regard + I also feel the MIDI is cleaner and more refined (just a feeling though, can't proof this.)

Groeten ;-)
Emanuel


Edited by DeskDesign (Yesterday at 06:04 PM)
Edit Reason: clarification & typo

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#2508553 - Yesterday at 07:10 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
Henry Pasternack Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 8
Hi, Emanuel. Yes, in the brief time I played the MP11, the one thing that worried me was that the action felt just a bit too light. Also, I could stand a bit more pronounced escapement feel. Obviously I don't want to end up getting spoiled by the digital action and then having troubles playing on a real acoustic piano. Just eyeballing photos I've seen, it looks like the pivot distance on my upright is about mid-way between that of the VPC1 and the MP11. As best as I can tell, there is no real difference in the quality of construction of the two keyboards.

There are only two Kawai dealers in my area and neither has an instrument on the floor with the RM3 action. I'm not worried about playing on a heavier action, and might even prefer it. I just don't want to end up annoyed because the key force is too high when I'm playing up within an inch of the back end of the keys. Do you notice the change when you play?

Watching videos of serious people playing serious music on the VPC1, I have to assume it's not an issue. But I hesitate to take the plunge without trying it first.

-Henry

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#2508601 - Yesterday at 10:58 PM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
DeskDesign Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/15
Posts: 33
Originally Posted By Henry Pasternack
I'm not worried about playing on a heavier action, and might even prefer it. I just don't want to end up annoyed because the key force is too high when I'm playing up within an inch of the back end of the keys. Do you notice the change when you play?


I'm not used to playing/using that particular area of the keyboard. And in no way am I a professional pianist. So all I can say is that there is a difference playing higher up / deeper in on the key, albeit nothing drastic. (PS. I didn't compare this with the MP11 / GF2).


Edited by DeskDesign (Yesterday at 10:59 PM)

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#2508610 - Today at 12:10 AM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
Strat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 667
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By Henry Pasternack
Hi, Emanuel. Yes, in the brief time I played the MP11, the one thing that worried me was that the action felt just a bit too light. Also, I could stand a bit more pronounced escapement feel. Obviously I don't want to end up getting spoiled by the digital action and then having troubles playing on a real acoustic piano. Just eyeballing photos I've seen, it looks like the pivot distance on my upright is about mid-way between that of the VPC1 and the MP11. As best as I can tell, there is no real difference in the quality of construction of the two keyboards.

There are only two Kawai dealers in my area and neither has an instrument on the floor with the RM3 action. I'm not worried about playing on a heavier action, and might even prefer it. I just don't want to end up annoyed because the key force is too high when I'm playing up within an inch of the back end of the keys. Do you notice the change when you play?

Watching videos of serious people playing serious music on the VPC1, I have to assume it's not an issue. But I hesitate to take the plunge without trying it first.

-Henry

You're making this overly complicated. You could ask a thousand questions and you still wouldn't know exactly if you would love/hate it.

Just buy it and return it if you don't bond with it. Simple and to the point.
_________________________
Started playing in mid-June 2007. Self-taught... for now. :p

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#2508614 - Today at 12:44 AM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
Bachus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/29/15
Posts: 283
There is more to it... then just the feel..

I would allways choose the MP11, because it has some knobs on it that can be used to controll parameters in pianoteq, and it has build in sounds, if you just want to sit down quickly and play witouth booting the computer...

Both actions are top knotch and probable better then anything else out there.. and the difference is quite small for anyone not training to be a concert pianist.. Both work very convincing to me, and the fact tha6t your preferred the MP11 at first galnce, should tell you enough...

So you probably should be asking you a different Question, is the MP11 worth the extra money, and extra weight..
_________________________
Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you gonna get. Make sure to enjoy every one of them, because that flavour might never return.

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#2508618 - Today at 01:22 AM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: DeskDesign]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 11318
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hello Emanuel,

Regarding this point:

Originally Posted By DeskDesign
Also the grain of the [MP11's] black keys - that genuine ebony veneer feeling - added a nice touch.


Please note that neither the MP11 nor the VPC1 feature ebony veneer/texture on the black keys. The white keys do however utilise the 'Ivory Touch' key surface.

The 'Ebony Touch' black key surface is a feature of the 'Grand Feel II' keyboard action, which is currently only available on the CA97 and CA67 models.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

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#2508666 - Today at 07:32 AM Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Kawai James]
DeskDesign Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/15
Posts: 33
Originally Posted By Kawai James
Please note that neither the MP11 nor the VPC1 feature ebony veneer/texture on the black keys. The white keys do however utilise the 'Ivory Touch' key surface.


Oops .. Ok James, thanks for straightening this out!
I do remember playing a kawai with that ebony touch though, it probably was the CA97.

Best regards
Emanuel

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#2508677 - 16 minutes 33 seconds ago Re: VPC1 or MP11: Redux [Re: Henry Pasternack]
mezzopiano Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/15
Posts: 6
I was in the very same situation as yours, deciding between the MP11 and VPC1.

I played them both at the store side by side, comparing them for 9 hours in total.
I came back home confused as to which one I should get, because they are both awesome. The VPC1 being a little too hard for me and the MP11 a bit too soft.

I do think however that the difference in key action between them is not so subtle. I didn't want to get tired too soon from the VPC1 and didn't want to lose control over the pianissimo range on the MP11 (being too light).

After consulting in this forum, I decided to go with the MP11 (ordered it!!! should arrive soon...), because it felt so wonderful and soft. I really could connect to it and never stop playing. I guess it's a very personal thing that you must feel before you go ahead and purchase.

In addition, while I am originally a classical pianist, I also want to start exploring the digital world (after finally deciding to get a digital piano for the first time) so the sounds and features of the MP11 board are an advantage for me.

I think that for a pianist it's not about the sleek design of the VPC1 vs. the digital features of the MP11. It's much more about the action that suits you more, and of course about the difference in price...

good luck!

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