Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7

Posted by: activistaccord

Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/08/11 07:38 PM

Hi all,
I am a new digital keyboard player. Years on acoustics means I need quality keyboard action plus great sound. Sampled vs modeled sound. I need a leg up in choosing a primarily home instrument with option to travel. I spoke to a piano expert who raves about the Kawai MP6. Then cautioned by another about modeled vs sampled sound. Thoughts, guidelines...? Thanks
Posted by: dewster

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/08/11 07:56 PM

Roland SuperNATURAL seems to be a combination of sampling and modeling. If you can schlep 55lbs, try the Roland RD-700NX. If you want something lighter and can wait a couple of months, try the RD-300NX, which has a new unknown keyboard but is quite a bit lighter. No looping, no stretching, no layer switching, though many hate the SN EPs, and the ivory feel of the keys is problematic for some.

For a sampled instrument, the MP6 has somewhat older Kawai sampling in it (PHI vs. UPHI) but seems to be somewhere between older PHI and newer UPHI. It is also unstretched and has nice pedal and key sympathetic resonance. The pedal resonance helps to hide the looping to somewhat, but all samplers I've encountered have audible looping to one degree or another. Caveat emptor.

For the absolute best piano sound you need to MIDI into a PC-based sample set, but that can have issues too.
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/08/11 07:58 PM

The 330NX has a different key action than the FP7F It's a new design action so not many have tried it yet. The FP7F uses Rolands near top of the line piano action. The 300 is designed to be ligher ad lower cost. Kawai's key action is very good but also quite different feel from the FP7F.

Same with sound, Roland's new Supernatural sound tries to get around some of the problems with sampled pianos like Yamaha and I think it does this. But some people just like the less processed samples whiles others complain about the samples being stretched and layered by velocity. You just have to try each.

If sound is very important that computer cased virtual instruments are currently the best. All that said I like the Yamaha's P155 main piano sound and mostly use that.

If you hapen to like the Kawai key action and sound over Rolands then look also at Yamaha. I think Kawai and Yamaha are more alike then either is to Roland,

Meither of these s "best" at this price level all are pretty good
Posted by: FrankDaddy

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/08/11 08:33 PM

I have tried Roland, Yamaha and Kawai pianos and ended up picking a Kawai. For all practical purposes the best piano is still an acoustic piano. Second is a MIDI keyboard, computer and a software piano. Each of the brands had some limitation. I suggest you get a good set of headphones and play each of the above. Play it for a long time. Then make your decision. You cannot go wrong with any of the units you mentioned or anyone else. The looping does not bother me since I use mine for practicing and fun. I have an upright Baldwin Hamilton (built in the USA in 1994) that if I am working out a piece I use. But for night time practice and good electric Pianos I use my MP6. The electric pianos are really very good on the MP6. And I own a 73 Rhodes 88 key Stage piano. The MP6 is at a good price point and sounded like a AP. I do like the build quality and the feature set. But I can speak from experience anything from Kawai, Roland or Yamaha will do you fine. As a matter of fact I am planning on buying a notebook with Ivory II and interfacing it with my Kawai in the future. that way I can have the best of both worlds. When I play away from the house I can just take the Kawai. When I am playing at the house I can use a Soft Piano.

Good luck on your purchase decision. You are asking the right questions
Posted by: activistaccord

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/08/11 09:20 PM

Thank you everyone for responding so kindly. It sounds like it's the FP-7F or the MP6. Both are not stocked by local dealers. Can I order one from Sweetwater , try it, send it back and order the other then decide? Is this an ethical skillful method of getting my hands on them for extended playtime? Is Sweetwater the best company to buy from?
Posted by: JFP

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 04:21 AM

Funny. I'm currently in the same limbo (re-)considering an MP6, RD300NX or FP7F.

You should be very aware though of the fact that two of them are stage piano/mastercontrollers and one is more a home/stage piano (FP7F) . That means that in terms of layering and splitting sounds and control over your sounds and balance is the best in the MP6, with the RD as good second, but next to absent from the FP7F. So if some masterkeyboard/controller functionality is what you need, then the FP7F might not be the right choice.

Also the sound is simply different between the Kawai (a sampled Kawai grand) and the Roland (presumably a Steinway). That's also a matter of taste - so try to listen to some sound demo's to see what you like more. Technically the Roland SN is the most advanced, but if the basic sound is not your cup-of-tea , then these technicalities don't matter. I, for one, would prefer the Kawai sound enhanced with SN technology, but hey....that ultimate board simply doesn't exist ;-)

J
Posted by: thomsurf

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 05:24 AM

Same situation here...Well almost. I currently own a Kawai ES6 - Love the build quality but after playing it for a couple of months, I'm not satisfied with the AP sounds, plus I don't want build in speakers. Have the AP sounds in the MP6 improved a lot ? (The ES6 came out in 2008 I believe...)
Posted by: activistaccord

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 09:26 AM

And key board action? this is so important to me...how is the MP6 vs the FP-7F? and can I order one, try it, then order the other...is this a good way to try them? through Sweetwater? so close...so close :-)
Posted by: dewster

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 11:09 AM

Originally Posted By: thomsurf
I currently own a Kawai ES6 - Love the build quality but after playing it for a couple of months, I'm not satisfied with the AP sounds, plus I don't want build in speakers. Have the AP sounds in the MP6 improved a lot ?

The ES6 has unstretched HI. Kawai's latest have UPHI which I believe is based on more velocity layers. According to the ES6 manual it has pedal and key sympathetic resonance effects. IIRC the PHI and UPHI models I've tested seem to come from a different sampling session / piano than HI.

If you sent me a DPBSD MP3 I might be able to tell you more, though earlier models don't seem to reproduce key sympathetic resonance ("string resonance") via MIDI.
Posted by: FrankDaddy

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 03:41 PM

I actually own both a ES4 (the predicessor to the ES6) and the MP6. The MP6 piano has a much better piano sound than the ES4. My daughter will be taking the ES4 to college this fall. In additon the keyboard is better. For her it will keep her from practiciing late at night in the college piano practice room. Dewster is right that the MP6 is considerably better sampling than the ES4/6. The EPs are much better than the ES4. I definitely prefer the MP6 over the ES4/6.
Posted by: FrankDaddy

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 03:53 PM

By the way I also plan to use mine as a MIDI controller. So that was another factor in my decision. I can take a notebook and Ivory II and have an upgradable piano. The speakers in the ES4 are not as good as the ones in the ES6. So I did not want internal speakers. The keyboard action is much improved over the ES4. The surface is some form of imitation ivory and the flats have a satin finish like an ebony flat. The touch is pretty nice. I still prefer the touch of the MP10 but did not want ot spend 2500US for less features (albetit a better keyboard and a tad better piano sounds). The ES4 is the same keyboard as the ES6. The keys over time in the ES4 will squeak and need to be lubricated. By lubricating the keys i was impressed with the internal construction of the ES4. The build quality is great on both machines. Other than the sqeak problem on the ES4 keyboard I have had zero problems with neither the ES4 or the MP6. (This will probably jinx me.) smile
Posted by: Dave Ferris

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 04:09 PM

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Posted by: JFP

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/09/11 05:32 PM

It's a matter of personal preference.

I personally like the Kawai touch and feel of the keybed, but perhaps the Roland action is more 'responsive' in terms of key repetition. On the MP I found it sometimes hard to repeat notes very quickly in the way I would do it on a real acoustical instrument, but since I've had no chance to compare it to a PHA-III instrument I can't tell if the FP would feel that much better.

Not really liked the 'thumping' of the PHAIII version on the V-piano - I felt the RD700GX (Pha-II Ivory) pleased me more in that respect at the time (the NX was not yet introduced). Still , it remains 'try before you buy'. However, considering that's hard for most of us out there due too a lack of available instruments nearby , I also ordered the MP6 'blindly' from a web dealer ;-)

Either way - I think both keybeds are quite good, so concentrate on the sound (Kawai vs Steinway) and other features to see what you like...
Posted by: thomsurf

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/10/11 06:06 AM

Originally Posted By: dewster
If you sent me a DPBSD MP3 I might be able to tell you more, though earlier models don't seem to reproduce key sympathetic resonance ("string resonance") via MIDI.


Thanks for your kind suggestion, Dewster. I'm not much of a tech guy, but I suppose you would need a recording (Garageband) of some notes and chords?

I took a trip to the local music store yesterday and played a couple of DPs. Roland V, Roland FP-7F, Nord Stage 88, Yamaha CP50, Yamaha CP5. Choosing the perfect DP is such a confusing world to enter, but also a great one!

The FP-7F is probably my favortite of the above in terms of keys, but I really think they should have included a greater variety of piano sounds. The Concert grand sounds great and has that long sustain I'm looking for, but I can definetely see myself getting tired of the sound itself. I'm missing something like the 'ultimate piano' sound from the 700GX plus a nice clear sound like the one Yamaha is offering.
Posted by: Rimmer

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/10/11 06:31 AM

Originally Posted By: activistaccord
And key board action? this is so important to me...how is the MP6 vs the FP-7F? and can I order one, try it, then order the other...is this a good way to try them? through Sweetwater? so close...so close :-)


I played the MP6 and the HP307 (as at the time, the FP-7F hadn't been released and the HP307 has the same board and soundset as the FP-7F). I liked the MP6 is many ways but I thought the AP sound lacked something special compared to the Roland SN stuff. It didn't sound as advanced. I personally prefer the action of the FP-7F to the MP6 but that's personal preference as they are both very good boards..

The MP6 is more stage or studio and you can tell when you have it in front of you. Really easy to use and although the controls are somewhat dull to look at, they are very easy to get to grips with. The FP-7F doesn't have all the sounds and EP's of the MP6 but the FP-7F in my experience simply has a much better sounding acoustic piano. It's not perfect, but it feels like you connect with the sound better than the MP6. This is mostly due to the fact that Kawai crippled the machine by using a cut down version of their best technology.

Kawai's best technology (in the CA63/93 and MP10) still doesn't quite touch the Roland SN sound for me. Personal yes, but I think SN edges the Kawai's current technology and I believe more people are agreeing on that than are disagreeing on that at the moment (at least that's the impression I get). Although playing the machines is the only way to decide what ticks your boxes, have a listen to some examples of the different DP's available (sadly no MP6 volunteered yet but I know a man that might wink )
Check it out here..


Regards. Rimmer
Posted by: JFP

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/10/11 12:37 PM

Finally played the FP7F for a few minutes. In short:
- More plastic look and feel of the casing than the Kawai MP6
- Better technology for Acoustic Piano sound, but sounds slightly artificial at high velocities ('twang' sound and some extreme long decays).
- Very good, but lighter keybed than the Kawai instruments. Matter of preference. It easier on your fingers and very fast. I prefer a heavier touch.
- Other kind of Ivory Touch feel. Also a matter of preference. I personally prefer the grip of the Kawai version.
- Build quality of the keybed is very good - the keys looked very tight and even - no gaps or other unregularities ! On my MP6 this was less precise; some gaps between the keys we're obviously bigger than others. But overall it felt quite solid too. The Roland wins in this respect.
- Almost no controls in comparison to the MP6 - it's really a compact portable home piano, but definitely not a masterkeyboard controller.
- Only basic effects that are not very flexible to change or control.
- Audio-in - comes in handy for adding a laptop for additional sounds.
- Sing-along audio processor ;-) Who is really going to use the harmonizer etc ? I rather had Roland keep the more flexible effects blocks !

All in all, I still think if you're looking for a great/portable replacement of an acoustic piano and don't need masterkeyboard features the Roland is the ultimate candidate, but if you will need additional controller features and a more all-round board, then I would suggest the MP6. As long as you can live with the other (Kawai Grand) piano character and bit less sophisticated acoustic piano sound.

The MP6 192 voice PHI piano quality is somewhere between the entry level 96 voice PHI version of the CN33 and the MP10 piano. Still the MP10 tops the MP6 of course - but for a lot more money and weight. It's up to you...

J
Posted by: Dave Ferris

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/10/11 01:00 PM

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Posted by: PianoZac

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/10/11 01:19 PM

Thomsurf, have you gotten a chance to play the NP88? I found the action to be better than the Stage EX. The more I play the NP88, the more I appreciate it for what it is.

I do miss a heavier action. I will probably keep my NP88 for years and years as my stage board. I'd take one 450MB piano sample (if Clavia released a sample size that large) and a couple good EPs. But if I'm to buy another DP for home practice because of space and money constraints, I'll go for the MP10. Been hearing too many good things about the way it feels and plays.
Posted by: thomsurf

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/11/11 08:17 AM

Hi Zac. Sorry, I didn't play the Nord Stage but the Nord Piano 88. The key surface was really nice and smooth, but it felt very light. I'm not all that picky when it comes to keys. I feel it's very easy to adapt to whatever quality DP it might be. Sound is a lot more important IMO. The NP would be a serious contender for me if it had more sounds and layering abilities.
Posted by: activistaccord

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/12/11 04:49 PM

To all thank you...I chose the MP6. Should be here early next week. Lots of research and detailed information from a wholesaler in Arizona gave me the courage "to jump in". Happy to refer you to him.
Posted by: KHen

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/12/11 05:22 PM

grats! It sounds like a great board, although I have yet to play it. It is at the top of my list of pianos to demo though.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/12/11 05:51 PM

Congrats activistaccord!

Please do let us know your opinion of the MP6 after a few days/weeks of playing!

Cheers,
James
x
Posted by: JFP

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/13/11 04:43 AM

Enjoy !
Posted by: TADutchman

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/15/11 12:57 AM

Have fun with your MP6!

A wholesaler in Arizona, let me think: wink
http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-yamaha-p155-roland-fp7f-kawai.html
Posted by: activistaccord

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/17/11 04:39 PM

Yes, Tim is the guy who offered detailed, patient, and encouraging support as I sorted through all the information. I do recommend his service. The instrument is due to arrive this Tuesday, Feb 22...big time anticipation :-) I'll return in a few weeks with my impressions . Thanks to all for the camaraderie.

Kelly
Posted by: PianoZac

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/18/11 02:08 PM

Congrats activistaccord on the MP6. That seems like it's becoming quite the sound choice. Curious to hear you thoughts.
Posted by: JFP

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/18/11 05:00 PM

Bit off topic, but I hope you will get a brand NEW one; I was waiting for my NEW ordered MP6 as replacement for the one I sent back and was surprised to get a sudden notice that it had been sent off to my home this week. While there still wasn't any official new stock and the delivery date is still the end of February.

Made me suspicious where this MP6 suddenly came from. It arrived today (I wasn't home) and I haven't even unpacked it yet, because it is obviously NOT an unopened new unit. The box is damaged (again) and it has carried many previous labels already and the original shipment data is nov 2010 from the factory and early this year to the shop in question. Cannot believe what they think they are doing. I think I will leave it closed and phone them this monday - pity there's a weekend in between.

Strike 2 with this MP - it's NOT the instrument or Kawai to blame! ; that's all great ; but what these shops are doing remains a mystery to me...

J (I want my MP ;-(

Posted by: larry c.

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/18/11 08:28 PM

Not sure if this the right place for this. Where in the nyc area can i try out the mp-6?
Posted by: activistaccord

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 10:39 AM

Hi,
It's very challenging to find an MP6 to test drive. But perhaps you could google for a place in the NYC area. I did, found a couple of places, but never followed up on it because I made the choice before I could arrange a trip to the city.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 05:01 PM

larry c., I would recommend using the Dealer Locator link on the KawaiUS website at the following URL:

http://www.kawaius.com/nav_links/dealer_locator2010.html

If this does not provide any local dealers, it's probably best to contact Kawai US directly either by telephone or email:

http://www.kawaius.com/nav_links/contacts2010.html

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted by: rickshapiro

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 06:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
larry c., I would recommend using the Dealer Locator link on the KawaiUS website at the following URL:

http://www.kawaius.com/nav_links/dealer_locator2010.html

If this does not provide any local dealers, it's probably best to contact Kawai US directly either by telephone or email:

http://www.kawaius.com/nav_links/contacts2010.html

Kind regards,
James
x


It is really not about finding a dealer but finding one who actually has the product in stock. I've called 5 of the dealers off your link only to find none of them have the MP6 in stock but they were all happy to order it for me. I live in New Jersey, a pretty densely populated state, you would figure someone would have it.

I've tried and visited 3 Sam Ash's including Cherry Hill, Edison and NYC and there was no representation of Kawai SP nor did Freehold Music (other then a older MP8 II).

I assumed these were not "hot" sellers and most folks did not want to take the risk of these sitting on the showroom for an extended period of time.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 07:12 PM

rickshapiro,

Originally Posted By: rickshapiro
I assumed these were not "hot" sellers and most folks did not want to take the risk of these sitting on the showroom for an extended period of time.


It's perhaps true that the MP6/MP10 are a harder sale for traditional acoustic piano dealers due to their appearance, and the fact that these models do not feature built-in speakers. Generally speaking, the MP6/MP10 appeals to a different kind of consumer than a acoustic piano or console-type (CA/CN series) digital piano.

Given the extensive efforts you have already gone to to play-test these instruments, my recommendation would be to call/email KawaiUS directly.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted by: rickshapiro

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 07:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
rickshapiro,

Originally Posted By: rickshapiro
I assumed these were not "hot" sellers and most folks did not want to take the risk of these sitting on the showroom for an extended period of time.


It's perhaps true that the MP6/MP10 are a harder sale for traditional acoustic piano dealers due to their appearance, and the fact that these models do not feature built-in speakers. Generally speaking, the MP6/MP10 appeals to a different kind of consumer than a acoustic piano or console-type (CA/CN series) digital piano.

Given the extensive efforts you have already gone to to play-test these instruments, my recommendation would be to call/email KawaiUS directly.

Kind regards,
James
x


James,

Thank you for the reply. I have sent an email, let me see what they come back with.
Posted by: rickshapiro

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 07:29 PM

Perhaps this is another topic but the large retailers such as Sam Ash and Guitar Center appear to be carrying less and less professional level equipment and moving to large volume of consumer level equipment. A long time employee at GC even confirmed this. I guess we will be left with Sweetwater and the phethera of Ebay stores.
Posted by: KHen

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 08:13 PM

I'm curious what did you ask them in your email to Kawai US? The nearest dealer for me is a 3 hour drive away and they only carry the older cn22 and none of the upgraded models with RH action and PHI sound. I asked them if they had the MP6 or the CN23, so I could atleast try the new RH action, but they didn't even know any new models were released.

It's really hard for me to try these instruments because I have to essentially take an entire day off and make a drive to Seattle to demo anything. I guess I could purchase something without even demoing it yet, but that sounds dangerous.
Posted by: larry c.

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 09:14 PM

Hello,

Thank you all for your help in finding a dealer who has the MP6 available to try/buy.

I contacted Kawai US with the following question:

"Hello,
Can you tell me where I can try and perhaps purchase a Kawai Mp-6 in the greater NYC area?
I could go to any of the 5 boroughs of New York, or New Jersey, or Connecticut if necessary.
I'm interested in this instrument but don't know where to go to test it out.
Thank you"

and received this response.

"Thanks for your interest in the new MP6. We are putting the MP6 into several Sam Ash stores in the area."

I contacted the Sam Ash store in Brooklyn, but they do not stock it, but said they could order one for me. They would not have one in the store to try out.

I will continue to search for dealers in the nyc area. Any other suggestions are much appreciated.

with best,

larry c.
Posted by: Zman

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 09:35 PM

Larry,
Sam Ash got an MP6 in the NYC store (48th St.) last Friday. They had the box on the floor and unfortunately I couldn't wait for the "unboxing", although really wanted to try it out. I think they were planning on putting it on the floor as a demo. It's probably worth a call before you go though, as there was only one and they may have sold it over the weekend.

Regards,

Z
Posted by: rickshapiro

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Roland 300NX vs Roland FP-F7 - 02/21/11 09:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Zman
Larry,
Sam Ash got an MP6 in the NYC store (48th St.) last Friday. They had the box on the floor and unfortunately I couldn't wait for the "unboxing", although really wanted to try it out. I think they were planning on putting it on the floor as a demo. It's probably worth a call before you go though, as there was only one and they may have sold it over the weekend.

Regards,

Z


Funny, I was there around 11:30AM this Friday and they did not have one in. They said they would call me if one came in. It is actually where I tried the Nord. It was a nice day though in NYC, 65 degrees.