Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland

Posted by: Dustin Spray

Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/07/13 03:41 AM

Hello all.

I am looking to get back into playing the piano after about a 12 year hiatus. With that being said, I am in need of a piano and thinking for my lifestyle a digital piano might be great for me. I started looking at them this weekend, but my head in spinning in a whirlwind. I guess I didnt realize that there were this many digital pianos to choose from. So I was looking for some input on what to look for. I want a quality instrument that will be able to suite my needs for a while so that I dont outgrow the instrument too quickly. I was thinking in the $2500-$3500 price range. I have always been a fan of Yamaha and looked at the Clavinova CLP 440 and the CLP 470, I thought they were very nice instruments. I also played on a Roland HP503 and though it sounded VERY good and had a great feel and touch and felt more responsive than the Yamaha's. However I felt that the action appeared to be quite noisy. I havent got a chance to look at Kawai's yet, that will be next weekend. So does anyone have any input on brands and models, what to look for and what to stay away from? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

-Dustin
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/07/13 05:45 AM

I would first decide if you prefer more the Roland, or more the Yamaha and Kawai sound.

If you would prefer the Yamaha or Kawai sound, which is much brighter than the mellow Roland sound, then compare the 440 and 470 key actions, and try to find a location where you could compare with a Kawai CA 65 and CA 95. I think, this are your 4 candidates then.

If you would prefer Roland sound, check if you feel fine with the HP-505 key action (which is much better than the one of the 503). If this fits your demands, then that´s it. I wouldn´t recommend the 503. Besides the not as high quality key action of the 503 in comparison to the HP 505/507 and LX-15, there are some tiny but sometimes helpful features missing (if I remember correctly regarding the MIDI implementation, the configuration possibilities to play with two headphones, or the possibilites how to use the recorder; better check yourself for details by downloading the 503/505 manual and carefully read through them completely for finding the differences)! If you have the money, check if the 507 (or even LX-15) speaker system fits your needs better. If the speaker system of the 505 is enough for you, then stay with it and better invest money left in an iPad to connect to the HP-505.
If you also want to play other sounds than piano (like church organ or e-organ), then be aware that they are not at all intelligently grouped in the sound banks in the mentioned Roland digital pianos (in my opinion). Yamaha is doing a much better job in providing accessability of these! If you would like to stay with Roland, and would need better accessability to other sounds and to configuration parameters, think about getting a Roland stage piano (300 NX or 700 NX) and buying necessary speakers separately, than thinking about one of the Roland console with integrated speakers. You again would have to check the key actions of 300/700NX to comfort you, though.
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/07/13 03:14 PM

Do you think there is any difference in quality between the three brands? They are all made in Indonisia if am correct right?
Posted by: helloworld1

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/07/13 03:26 PM

Yamaha's are usually made from Japan. Kawai's are from Indonesia.
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/07/13 04:11 PM

Yamaha, Kawai and Roland are the three top digital piano brands in the world. Any of them is synonym of high quality.

Which one choose? I'm sorry but I'm going to say nothing new: depends on your needs and your taste. Every make has it's pros and cons.

- Roland Supernatural sound engine is very expressive although the tone is no for the taste of everyone (mellow and, in opinion of some people including me, muffled). Their actions are responsive and playable but maybe a bit swallow and light. This can be a defect or a virtue, depends on your point of view. And the action is very noisy, it's probably the noisier one in the market.

- Kawai new actions are heavy enough and in the opinion of many people are quite realistic. I own a HP-305 bought a year ago but if I've had to buy a digital piano today, I'd probably choose a CA-65 with GF wooden action. But that's only an opinion.

- Yamaha is Yamaha. They have a strong pedigree. But while their quality is legendary (and well deserved), they still use more or less the same digital actions they used 10 years ago (slight variants of the GH actions, derived also from 1987's AE action). But today Yamaha is very strong on their pricey but excellent hybrid pianos with real acoustic actions. But while I personally would not recommend to buy a Clavinova, it's only an opinion, there's still many fans of Clavinova (although I think they are a minority on this forum but there's many people in the world smile ).
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/08/13 03:02 AM

Originally Posted By: CarloPiano

But while I personally would not recommend to buy a Clavinova, it's only an opinion, there's still many fans of Clavinova (although I think they are a minority on this forum but there's many people in the world smile ).


If you dont mind me asking why not? Why do people on this forum shy away from the Clavinovas?

I ruled out Roland, I felt that the action was too noisy and the sound was rather muffled.

Im going to look at Kawai's this weekend. Im interested in looking at the CA65 as I believe the CA95 is quite a bit more than the CA65.....

With that being said I think im narrowed down so far to the Yamaha CLP470 or the Kawai CA65. Any others I should look into?

Thanks!

-Dustin
Posted by: Hookxs

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/08/13 03:47 AM

Possibly because people like new things and, as was pointed out, Yamaha update their technology at somewhat slower rate than model numbers. Or perhaps because particular people on this forum people aren't fond of their action or sound, which is very subjective so don't let others persuade you that you should like this and try for yourself, Yamahas may very well suit you.
IMHO Yamaha DPs (to be fair I tested only the current CLP line) is what I would describe as average - not many strong points but not many weak points, which is very important. Rolands for example (again, in my subjective opinion) are extremely unbalanced, you love them for one aspect and hate for another, sort of from one extreme to another. I have read people say "if you buy a Roland, you will no be disappointed" but you may very well be, if you happen to dislike a feature which you and the same time regard as important. This is imho less likely with Yamahas, they won't blow you away but they will no disappoint you.
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/08/13 03:52 AM

Thanks! I guess Im not looking for all the bells and whistles as much as I am a good quality instrument with good touch and sound. Most of the sound is going to be with headphones though.......
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/08/13 04:06 AM

As the key action of both (CLP470 and CA65) are excellent, and your hands can adapt quickly, don´t forget to take your time to check for the following when visiting the store:

How does the sound react on dynamic playing? How are the volume changes, how are the changes in timbre upon changed speed pressing down the keys?

Play at low volume setting of the speaker system. This is what you will do a lot of time at home when practicing and not wanting to run in trouble with your neighbors. Does the piano sounds and dynamically reacts fine also at low volumes? I saw that the CLP has a "loudness" button to improve the sound for playing at low volumes. I am not sure about the Kawais featuring this. The Rolands do not.

Access the e-piano, church organ sounds, and the e-organ sounds. It maybe that on your journey you might become interested in once enjoying also theses sounds. So, they should be easily accessable, and of course sound nice at well.

Set the speed of the metronome. Play a little bit. Record yourself and listen to yourself. Without finally saving your recorded song, return to practice. This is what you will do a lot of time with a digital piano. It is one of a digital piano´s not so often mentioned but very powerful strength, helping you to practice very efficiently. So, the metronome and recorder functionality should be accessable in a comfortable way. I am mentioning this, because on my HP-505, the metronome speed for practicing and recording is not synchronized, and each time changing between recording and practicing the speed has to be newly adjusted because the recorded speed always jumps to a certain default value but does not use the the last speed which the pianist has had in use. This is very annoying on my Roland digital piano! Only if saving the performance to the long time memory the metronome speeds of the practicing and recorder modes become synchronized. But as you usually won´t save your last practicing run but will just listen once or twice to it you will actually not activate this synchronization and are forced to adjust metronome speeds again and again. The Roland support answered to me that this wouldn´t be a bug, but that it technically would have to be like this. Well, to me it matters what I as the pianist have done last, and with which I want to continue, and I personally don´t want to be forced to adapt to what programmers failed to implement to become a practical helpful feature. On my Roland it is a feature, but not pragmatic to take advantage of in a comfortable way.

[EDIT: adding the following: ]
Because Hooks just commented on it: I love my HP-505 because of its primary piano sound and its dynamic behaviour, especially the changes in timbre. I therefore would not like to change it for anything else on the market at the moment. But some features (accessability of other sounds, and metronome implementation) are very frustrating to use.
Posted by: Hookxs

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/08/13 04:14 AM

I can vouch that CA65 metronome and/or recording usage is quick and easy to use and I can confirm that the same on Roland HPs is horrible. Don't remember about CLPs though, the only thing I remeber is that I "recorded" several mp3s (or wavs) directly to flash drive when playtesting at the store and when I came home, the flash drive was empty. Previously I did the same with Kawai and it was intuitive and worked. I admit that I hadn't read the user manuals prior to going to the stores, but it shows that Kawai operation is more intuitive. Once you learn it, it may be easy on Yamaha too (unlike Roland), I don't know.
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/08/13 05:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Dustin Spray
If you dont mind me asking why not? Why do people on this forum shy away from the Clavinovas?


Sure! I can only speak for myself but in my opinion Clavinova has become comfortable with their dominant position into the market while the competence invested a lot more on investigation, development and innovation. I think that all the Yamaha's budget on investigation is being invested on their hybrids.

The final result is that Clavinova's action is a variant of a 1987 one! When I tried the last Clavinovas, including the CLP-470 and 480 which aren't cheap, they felt rather nice but I experienced some problems while playing very complex pieces such as Chopin etudes or impressionist pieces. There were slipped even more notes than while playing on acoustic pianos or on Roland's PHA II/III (who doesn't slip a few notes while playing those monsters?). I also didn't feel comfortable playing it, I think GH and variants, including their last Linear Graded Hammers, are a bit tiring, and that's not a good thing. But the most annoying thing is the unnatural response felt.

Quote:
I ruled out Roland, I felt that the action was too noisy and the sound was rather muffled.


That's a pity because Supernatural is very expressive and listening from a certain distance (not from the player perspective) is amazingly realistic. In my opinion, listening from that distance, it its the most realistic piano tone out of the three. But the action is very noisy and it's highly noted when played at a not too loud volume, and the sound is muffled when staying close.

Quote:
Im going to look at Kawai's this weekend. Im interested in looking at the CA65 as I believe the CA95 is quite a bit more than the CA65.....


Yes, the CA95 is more expensive as you get a soundboard and maybe better speakers (not sure about this).

Quote:
With that being said I think im narrowed down so far to the Yamaha CLP470 or the Kawai CA65. Any others I should look into?


If you didn't like Roland, I think these are your best options. I would choose Kawai but it's a matter of taste. I don't think other brands such as Kurzeill, Korg and Casio match the big three on your price range. On lower levels Casio is a nice alternative but not at this.
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/08/13 06:48 AM

Regarding the relatively level of discussion of Yamaha vs. Kawai, here's a my impression of the history on this board ...

It used to be that Yamaha was the most-discussed line of products. Perhaps that's because they're widely available. Their low-end units are in every music store. And their high-end can be found here in at least three piano dealers here in south Florida.

Not so for Kawai. They're hard to find in the US, and (it seems) even harder to find elsewhere. When I was shopping for a piano four years ago I simply could not find a Kawai. Discredit Kawai for that. So I bought a Yamaha.

It's just in the last year or two that Kawai discussions have taken hold. Perhaps the Kawai distribution network has improved a bit? (Not much here, though. There's just one dealer in my county. But that's better than before.)

But I think it has more to do with the improvements that Kawai has made.

Yamaha sells pianos today that have the same action as those sold more than ten years ago. Still plastic only, and no wood keys (except for the "wood-look" shims on their high-end models.)

And the sound engine has changed little, if at all. (Real Grand Expression vs. the older Advanced Wave Memory seems to be a big name change, with little or no real change.)

Meanwhile Kawai has moved to wooden keys even on their mid-priced products. And they've improved the sound a great deal, it seems.

I presume that this has led to the growing interest in Kawai.
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/09/13 02:21 AM

Originally Posted By: MacMacMac

Yamaha sells pianos today that have the same action as those sold more than ten years ago. Still plastic only, and no wood keys (except for the "wood-look" shims on their high-end models.)

Meanwhile Kawai has moved to wooden keys even on their mid-priced products. And they've improved the sound a great deal, it seems.

I presume that this has led to the growing interest in Kawai.


Can you elaborate on this a tad? The Yamaha CLP 470 claims to have "88 uniquely weighted wooden keys"? Along with "Linear Graded Hammers" Is this not true? I dont believe the Yamaha has the "Let off" touch feature either.
Posted by: Kona_V-Piano

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/09/13 02:39 AM

Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Yamaha sells pianos today that have the same action as those sold more than ten years ago. Still plastic only, and no wood keys (except for the "wood-look" shims on their high-end models.)


You are so wrong. My Yamaha CLP-990 was made in 2001 and had real spruce wooden keys and grand piano action as well as all 88 keys sampled with 5 layers each. There are real wooden hammers hitting contacts, and it feels a lot better while playing it still all these years later than any plastic keys from later CLP models.
Posted by: peterws

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/09/13 03:50 AM

I went round the piano shop yesterday (I`d ordered sheet music) and tried all the latest stuff. None of the digitals or acoustics grabbed me like they did in the past. They were everything the Acoustic Exponents claim; colourless, odourless, puerile. I wouldn`t part wi my cash.

There was this Digiano Grand which looked and sounded great, for £2k but the action was crap . . . couldn`t play quiet bits on it.
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/12/13 11:59 PM

Finally made it to the music store today to check out the Kawai CA65. All I can say is WOW! I really had my heart set on Yamaha, probably mainly because of the name. But the CA65 had a wonderful touch and sound and way more features than the CLP470 had to offer. It was so much like a piano I couldnt even hardly tell it was electronic. Plus is comes in satin black where the CLP470 does not. I think I may go purchase one next weekend. I just hope the quality is good and it holds up well. I did notice the "A" natural below middle "C" stuck twice during my hour session on playing. Im not sure how normal this is......
Posted by: pv88

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Dustin Spray
I did notice the "A" natural below middle "C" stuck twice during my hour session on playing. Im not sure how normal this is......


@Dustin,

A sticking note is never "normal" so be sure to buy a brand new digital and not a demo model from the store. You will always get a lower price on a used and worn instrument, although it is best advised not to buy one.

Did you have a chance to point out this problem to the sales person?
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 02:03 AM

No i didnt point it out to the salesman. I agree though, I am going to buy a brand new one in the box. Not a worn demo model. I wonder if anyone else has encountered this. I though maybe it needed to be broken in. LOL! The key stuck twice, and I dont think I did anything to cause it to stick like snag it with my sleeve or something?.......
Posted by: floydthebarber71

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 04:20 AM

You aren't the first! I also tried very hard to convince myself of the Yamaha actions, but I walked home with a Kawai because of the touch.

I'm not too experienced with this stuff, but you aren't supposed to have sticky keys at any point. Maybe someone splashed some cooldrink on the demo model :P
Posted by: Clayman

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 08:37 AM

Interesting opinions on the Yamahas... I'm also hunting for a new DP and after countless evenings of research and aural tests I have narrowed down the options to the CLP 470 and the CA-95. Most stores that sell Yamaha DP's really seem to push those for some reason -- I engaged in a chat with an assistant in one of the stores about a week ago and asked him why they also don't stock any Kawai models. He seemed a little surprised by that question but he said that basically no one ever wants those. confused Figures...

At any rate, I was able to sit down at the CLP 470 in that store some months ago and really liked what I heard (and saw) and the key action also seemed fine (but since I've never played a piano before I can't really play judge here). I was actually firmly decided to get the CLP 470 once I save up enough money...

...but that was before I heard the new CA-95 on YouTube (there's a link to a promotional video floating around here). I fell in love with its sound and liked the looks of that beauty as well. It costs somewhat more than the 470 but it's still within the limit. What's worse, however, is that none of the stores around here stocks it -- they only supply these on request. I was able to toy a bit with Kawai CS3 to at least get a taste of the Let-off feature (kinda weird if you ask me smile ) but I reckon the CS3 is a different league. I might try to ask them if they could get one unit overhere for a tryout because at the moment, the CA-95 really seems miles ahead of any CLP in terms of technology and features.
Posted by: chickenlump

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 04:12 PM

I just bought the CA95 myself.
I didn't mind the 470, but the CA95 key action feels more authentic to me. I've grown up with playing a lot of yamaha, but the CLP series that I tried feels quite a bit different. The Roland keys just felt really fake to me, I just couldn't get over it.

CA95 was close enough that I can really immerse myself without feeling like I'm playing digital.

I got the 95 over the 65 - the soundboard made a surprisingly big difference in completing the AP experience. I personally thought it was worth the extra money.
Posted by: Man of La Mancha

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 04:23 PM

It is usually said that those three brands are the Big Three in digital pianos. However, in the Piano World, these three do not seem to be the same and this thread is a "proof." Kawai seems to be the most preferred and recommended brand, followed by Yamaha. Roland, once a venerable brand in the digital instrument world, seems to be falling behind these two brands while it is being pushed from the behind by Casio. This a general impression that I have gotten after reading various threads here. Of course, when we come down to specific models, any comparison will get complicated.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 05:32 PM

Maybe ROLAND users do not come back so frequently to the forum´s DP board, because they are no more searching but only playing? The key action and the main piano sound, and how they are connected are just excellent for many people!

Well, the ROLAND piano sound is imitating the warm old european sound, which is preferably to be heard in classic and romantic music, but does not compare as well to the modern bright sound like used in Jazz/Blues/Country/Rock or Movie Track playing. It can´t strike through as good in band playing or in any other environment with background noise! It is more for playing solo.
Also, as we are hearing daily the brighter piano sounds on Radio or TV, nowadays even in Video Games, the brighter sound might because of this popularity be preffered by more people, nowadays.

Finally, everybody searching for more instrument than only a (digital) piano might be disappointed about the extras of the ROLDANDs. At least I am, especially about the 'other' sounds which are not the main piano sound, and I am also dissappointed about the metronome implementation.
Furthermore, it is not possible to deactivate (or decrease volume of) the hammer noise which is added (too loud) to the sound, and that it is not possible to chose if dampers for the highest 1 1/2 octave are applied or not. ...Yes, I know, there are different opinions here in the forum, how far the DP should imitate as close as possible an acoustic piano, or develope as well by its new electronic possibilities.

Anyway, I wouldn´t want to change from ROLAND to one of the bright sound pianos. For me playing mainly romantic piano solo style music, it is just the right choice!

So, let me assume that ROLAND users are more dedicated to classical and romantic music, also do not ask for the 'bells and whistles' as much, and once they found their instrument don´t worry much anymore about what´s new on the market. Thus their presence is lower on the DP board than it is in a buyers and players statistics?
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 06:28 PM

RE: Man of La Mancha's rank ordering as Kawai --> Yamaha --> Roland --> Casio ...

That does seem to be the trend in the postings here. In the end, though, there's no substitute for trying pianos and then deciding for yourself. Your own rank ordering is the only one that really matters.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 06:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Man of La Mancha
It is usually said that those three brands are the Big Three in digital pianos. However, in the Piano World, these three do not seem to be the same and this thread is a "proof." Kawai seems to be the most preferred and recommended brand, followed by Yamaha. Roland, once a venerable brand in the digital instrument world, seems to be falling behind these two brands while it is being pushed from the behind by Casio. This a general impression that I have gotten after reading various threads here. Of course, when we come down to specific models, any comparison will get complicated.


Well...from what I can tell, the most preferred and recommended brand changes here faster than new models come out, which means it isn't always based on which brand has the best available pianos.

The opinion of just a few people on this forum can influence one's perception of the whole industry quite easily. And since the composition of the forum (or at least, the group of people actively posting) changes over time, you get fluctuations in forum consensus.

Just a few months ago I had the sense that the forum was leaning heavily Roland, perhaps with Kawai as a runner up. Kawai has come out with some pretty neat models recently, which earns lots of mojo, but the landscape isn't so totally changed that Roland is a distant third.

I'm pretty sure in numbers of digital pianos sold (overall, not just to forum members), Yamaha dominates Roland and Kawai--even people who don't play know what a clavinova is. And I suspect (based on availability) that Roland dominates Kawai by this measure. Casio probably sells a ton of pianos, but a large proportion of them are the unweighted keyboards you can pick up at walmart and the like, so I'm not sure if we count them. I don't expect that situation to change any time real soon--the DP market just isn't very fast moving.

I like pianos from all the brands, and appreciate their differences. In terms of recomendations, well, I can tell you my flavors of the month if you want... smile
Posted by: voxpops

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 06:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Man of La Mancha
Roland, once a venerable brand in the digital instrument world, seems to be falling behind these two brands...


Based on what? They have great APs and a great action. Not everyone will like what they produce, but that's different. To me, if at all, it's the other brands that are playing catch-up to Roland's SuperNATURAL. Roland stuff is usually well-built and reliable. The biggest criticism I have seen leveled at them is that they are less innovative in other areas than they used to be. That is something that both Yamaha and Kawai could also be accused of.

My own personal criticism of Roland recently is that they tend to ration their non-AP "extras" to the point of it almost being not worth including them in their DPs. Their EPs are frequently a joke. However, Kawai ration their best AP samples, and Yamaha seem to just tinker around with what they've been doing for the past twenty years.

I don't think ranking makes any real sense.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 06:52 PM

I think you are right, voxpops. In my opinion:

* Yamaha has very much stagnated (which may mean they are just happy where they are) in action and sound. I exclude hybrids from this, because that was a great innovation.

* Roland made a great innovation with the SuperNatural, but that has been around a number of years now and I haven't seen it changed. I also haven't seen any innovation on the action side. I not yet played an Ivory-G piano, yet, though. So maybe my impression is wrong.

* Kawai seems to be the only one coming up with new actions regularly. I think it's kind of the niche they have chosen--authentic touch. All the Kawai pianos I've heard sound the same to me, so my personal feeling is that their sound engine has changed only the same way Yamaha's has: very incrementally or in some cases not at all.

Of course, in each case we are talking about changes (innovations) they have made. That's not the best measure for recommendations because it omits their starting point (Yamaha started out in a great place as basically the company that made digital pianos a household concept). It also omits their pricing (Yamaha does great again for the most part).

One note: Both Yamaha and Kawai mostly feature their own acoustic piano sounds in their digitals. In fact, they seem to make piano after piano with a "different" tone engine that draw from the same sampling session. This being the case, when a model sound just like the one it replaces, we shouldn't be surprised.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 07:13 PM

Is there such a thing as brand loyalty in DPs? After all, unlike say, SLR cameras, you're not buying into a system. I don't know about computers - do you get locked similarly into a system when buying one?

I don't presume to know much about DPs (- I just treat them as acoustic pianos that need to be switched on grin) but from an occasional reading of the posts here in the DP forum (skipping all the technical threads which pass me by....), the consensus seems to be that if you want good non-piano sounds, you wouldn't go for Roland; if you want the most lifelike playing experience, Roland's SN DPs are your best bet; Yamaha seems to rely on its reputation too much rather than innovation, but remains by far the best seller; Kawai is too difficult to get hold of for many people, but seems to be the best bet if you want decent AP as well as EP and other sounds, as well as better key action than Yamaha.

Of course, all the above generalizations exclude the niche DPs like the Yamaha AGs and NU1, and Roland V-Piano/Grand.
Posted by: NoviceJazzer

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 07:15 PM

I have a question concerning the Yamaha-Kawai-Roland discussion. I've been listening to tons of product demos and have found that all three companies have good sounding keyboards, but is there a way to determine which has the most reliability/less repairs needed.

I'm disabled and can't drive, so I really want to get one that I can set up and not worry about, and not need to load in any software patches.

Thanks in advance,
Kevin
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 07:33 PM

We almost never have discussions about reliability by brand. For the most part, digital pianos are completely hassle free. If there are issues, they don't seem to be pervasive across any particular brand.

Basically, they are all pretty reliable and when there are issues, all the major companies are pretty good at resolving them with minimal trouble for you.

Basically, they conform to the Japanese stereotype.
Posted by: NoviceJazzer

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 07:39 PM

Originally Posted By: gvfarns
We almost never have discussions about reliability by brand. For the most part, digital pianos are completely hassle free. If there are issues, they don't seem to be pervasive across any particular brand.

Basically, they are all pretty reliable and when there are issues, all the major companies are pretty good at resolving them with minimal trouble for you.

Basically, they conform to the Japanese stereotype.


Thanks, I appreciate it.
Posted by: personne

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/13/13 10:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Man of La Mancha
It is usually said that those three brands are the Big Three in digital pianos. However, in the Piano World, these three do not seem to be the same and this thread is a "proof." Kawai seems to be the most preferred and recommended brand, followed by Yamaha. Roland, once a venerable brand in the digital instrument world, seems to be falling behind these two brands while it is being pushed from the behind by Casio.

In my area it is hard to find Kawai, between Roland and Yamaha, Roland is represented more in stores IMO.
Casio cannot push from behind, as they are just in the different price range than Roland - they rather compete with cheap Yamahas.

And yes, I am quite happy with my Roland, however I will not go into every topic if this is everything I have to say - while those who would like to complain usually have more smile

Roland and Yamaha are just too different sounds, and it is matter of taste which to prefer. Kawai is closer to Yamaha, I believe.
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 01:56 AM

Originally Posted By: Man of La Mancha
Roland, once a venerable brand in the digital instrument world, seems to be falling behind these two brands while it is being pushed from the behind by Casio. This a general impression that I have gotten after reading various threads here. .


Try reading them again .... WTF are you smoking ? SN, PHAIII... not to mention the technically amazing V .... Roland are without doubt the current leader in DP design and technology.
Posted by: Clayman

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 02:05 AM

Regarding Roland -- I have ruled them out from my options pretty early actually. I had a shop assistant play one of the HP series for me the same day I was fooling around with the 470 and the sound didn't quite strike a chord with me. frown It felt sort of "sparkly" and too bright compared to Yamaha's more mellow, milder sound.

Now if I'm not mistaken, Roland use Steinway samples, which is fine and dandy, but I also seem to recall reading/hearing somewhere that they use different models for different tones/ranges, thereby creating some sort of super-piano. Also, Roland have a long history of producing quality electronic keyboards but they have never produced an acoustic piano before, unlike Yamaha and Kawai.

Mind you, this isn't to diss Roland products. I can clearly see that many people here like their touch and sound, but for someone who presumably looks for authentic sound and key action, it seems an odd choice to pick a Roland DP.
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 03:11 AM

Originally Posted By: Clayman
Regarding Roland -- I have ruled them out from my options pretty early actually. I had a shop assistant play one of the HP series for me the same day I was fooling around with the 470 and the sound didn't quite strike a chord with me. frown It felt sort of "sparkly" and too bright compared to Yamaha's more mellow, milder sound.

Are you kidding ? Yamahas are far far brighter then Roland's dark woody Steinway based tonality.

Originally Posted By: Clayman

Mind you, this isn't to diss Roland products. I can clearly see that many people here like their touch and sound, but for someone who presumably looks for authentic sound and key action, it seems an odd choice to pick a Roland DP.

Not at all Roland currently offer a far more authentic sound and action then any other brand.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 03:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Not at all Roland currently offer a far more authentic sound and action then any other brand.


Sound, maybe.
Action, no way.

James
x
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 03:24 AM

Dustin Spray, maybe you become confused about what you wanted to say about the Roland and Yamaha sounds concerning their brightness? You would be the first to claim that Roland sounds are too bright compared to Yamahas. It is just the other way round, Yamaha (and Kawai) sound is much brighter than Roland sound.
Furthermore, the key action of the Rolands performs in the range of many key actions as you can find them on very nice grand pianos: light weighted. So, how can you state because of the key action it would be an odd choice to go for a key action of Roland DPs?
Posted by: peterws

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 03:37 AM

It might be of interest that Roland hasn`t produced natural pianos; they do not therefore have to consider conflicting financial interests. In which case - why haven`t they got longer keys?? And better samples for less money? SACK the MD!

Yamaha and Kawai sample their own pianos of course. They would do that wouldn`t they? . . . .My jaundiced view of things .
Posted by: Dustin Spray

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 03:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
Dustin Speray, maybe you become confused about what what you wanted to say about the Roland and Yamaha sound concerning their brightness? You would be the first to claim that Roland sounds too bright compared to Yamahas. Almost everybody has just the opposite impression, that Yamaha (and Kawai) sound is much brighter than Roland sound. Some even claim that Roland sound would appear 'muffled'.
Furthermore, the key action of the Rolands performs in the range of many key actions as you can find them on very nice grand pianos, nicely light. So, how can you state because of the key action it would be an odd choice to go for a key action of Roland DPs?


No, definatly not. I thought the action of the Rolands appeared to be noisy when quietly played and the sound was muffled. I sampled the Roland HP503 & HP505. I thought I was sold on a Yamaha CLP470 when these fine folks on this forum recommended that I look at the Kawai CA series. Over the past weekend I visited a piano store and played on a Kawai CA65 and was sold. The sound was great and the action and feel was even better. Like I said, I was hung up on the Yamaha till I tried the Kawai. It was a real pleasure to play. I think I am going to call up the store and have them get me one ready for pickup next weekend! Im excited!!! grin
Posted by: Hookxs

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 04:21 AM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
Dustin Speray, maybe you become confused about what what you wanted to say about the Roland and Yamaha sound concerning their brightness? You would be the first to claim that Roland sounds too bright compared to Yamahas. Almost everybody has just the opposite impression, that Yamaha (and Kawai) sound is much brighter than Roland sound. Some even claim that Roland sound would appear 'muffled'.
Furthermore, the key action of the Rolands performs in the range of many key actions as you can find them on very nice grand pianos, nicely light. So, how can you state because of the key action it would be an odd choice to go for a key action of Roland DPs?


When people refer to Roland sound as muffled, they typically mean the speaker system. In headphones, it is not muffled at all. I agree that Rolands SN is mellower/warmer than Kawai/Yamaha. When played through speakers, from middle C up the sound just...isn't there - that would be my biggest complaint about the sound of Roland HPs (one of two complaints, the other is disbalance of key samples, possibly very subjective).
As for the action - if it were not so loud, I would love it, though I agree it feels less realistic that Kawai GF for example.

Marco M - you say that Roland SN is not suitable for jazz. From my modest attemps at little jazz pieces I would say it sounds pretty darn good. The bass and dynamic range are superb. What I found difficult was to carry a high melodic line over bass accompaniment, often present in romantic pieces. The melody either wasn't there from the beginning (as opposed to bass) or died too quickly. So my perception is very different from yours, which only shows how subjective are our opinions on which sound is better.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 04:41 AM

Actually, I agree with you that the SN sound can be very nice sounding in a jazz tune. But the "usual" sound I hear in modern music is the bright one, and therefore SN sound used for such music could appear unexpectedley dull. Just because of what we become biased to by everydays noise exposure.
And I also agree with you that I have to accent the melody line over a bass line quite noticable. I thought this would be normal, I read about this in my method books as well, where they usually reference to acoustic pianos. Wasn´t aware that this on the ROLANDs is more evident than on other pianos - well, there is always something to learn.
Posted by: Hookxs

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 05:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Marco M
But the "usual" sound I hear in modern music is the bright one, and therefore SN sound used for such music could appear unexpectedley dull.


I listen mostly to solo piano. So what I refered to as "jazz" (harmonically rich and rhytmically interesting modern piano pieces, no background "fog" of other instruments) can be only a small subset of what is commonly known as jazz. I played a few things for which I knew the "ground truth" - professional acoustic recording - and I really liked what I heard from the HP, especially in moments when bass lines needed to be emphasized.

Originally Posted By: Marco M
Wasn´t aware that this on the ROLANDs is more evident than on other pianos - well, there is always something to learn.


I would say it's more evident on most DPs than on most acoustics, because of the short decay time of DPs. The melody simply fades too quickly. Apart from that, on the Roland HP I played, I had to EQ the hights very strongly to keep up with the bass, mainly when playing over speakers. The negative side effect is that EQing also amplifies high overtones in bass notes, rendering them less pleasant. On Kawai CA95 you can increase volume of individual keys (as opposed to frequency), which could do do trick on Roland HPs. Ironically it is not neccassary on CA95 because tones are very balanced volume-wise.
Posted by: Clayman

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 06:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper

Are you kidding ? Yamahas are far far brighter then Roland's dark woody Steinway based tonality.


Come to think of it, I'm not sure what kind of sound that Roland was set to. It may have used some fancier setting to make it sound brighter than usual. At any rate, what I described was only my impression on the sound and me and the shop assistant actually agreed on that.

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper

Not at all Roland currently offer a far more authentic sound and action then any other brand.


I don't dare judge this as I have never played a piano before but I consider these aspects very subjective and it seems that some people here beg to differ.
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 06:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Not at all Roland currently offer a far more authentic sound and action then any other brand.


Sound, maybe.
Action, no way.

James
x


I said sound and action .... Yeah the MP10 has a better action .... VST'S have a better sound. Even the CP1 has a better all round vibe when your playing it.
But in my view the RD700NX has the best all round combination of sound and action. With the studio grand being the best voice on any shipping DP and the PHAIII being probably the 2nd most realistic action.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 06:16 AM

I'm not sure I follow you:

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Roland currently offer a far more authentic sound and action then any other brand.


...but...

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
...the MP10 has a better action...


You're contradicting yourself, surely?
Posted by: Hookxs

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 06:29 AM

I believe Dr Popper means "sound and action" when evaluated together as a bundle, not separately. Other pianos may have better sound OR action but not both (my understanding of Dr's statement).
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 06:37 AM

Ah, I see.

Yeah, well...[grumble]

James
x
Posted by: KLSinCT

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 07:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Not at all Roland currently offer a far more authentic sound and action then any other brand.


Sound, maybe.
Action, no way.

James
x


If they could only marry the SuperNATURAL sound engine with a Kawai wooden action (like the new GF), I'd be in heaven.... 3hearts

K.
Posted by: personne

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 07:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Hookxs
[quote=Marco M]When people refer to Roland sound as muffled, they typically mean the speaker system. In headphones, it is not muffled at all. I agree that Rolands SN is mellower/warmer than Kawai/Yamaha.
What I found difficult was to carry a high melodic line over bass accompaniment, often present in romantic pieces. The melody either wasn't there from the beginning (as opposed to bass) or died too quickly.

Interesting, I have quite a different experience - I used to play on upright (although I did not play for some years), but I do not seem to do anything differently with high melodic line, while the bass line I have to highlight more - the reason is that Roland's action is somewhat heavier than upright.
I do not like long notes dying before they need to die on digitals - but it is the way it is frown

As for the speaker system on Roland, I actually enjoy experience through the speakers on my HP-507 more than from headphones - the reason is that some functions like reverb, soundboard behavier, hammer noise, may be a few more, are not available through headphones - but they make playing experience richer and less 'digital'.
I like their Sound Projection system too smile
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 07:43 AM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Ah, I see.

Yeah, well...[grumble]

James
x


wink
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: KLSinCT
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Not at all Roland currently offer a far more authentic sound and action then any other brand.


Sound, maybe.
Action, no way.

James
x


If they could only marry the SuperNATURAL sound engine with a Kawai wooden action (like the new GF), I'd be in heaven.... 3hearts

K.


Get yourself a Integra - 7 and wait a few weeks wink
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 07:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Hookxs
I believe Dr Popper means "sound and action" when evaluated together as a bundle, not separately. Other pianos may have better sound OR action but not both (my understanding of Dr's statement).


Your correct except that no DP has a better piano patch the Roland's SN Studio grand. It's technically perfect and its tonality is superb. You have to go to a VST to get anything that's a more complete patch and even then it's better then most VST's.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 08:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Get yourself a Integra - 7 and wait a few weeks wink


That'll work. wink

I actually suggested shooting some pics of the Integra-7 placed on top of the VPC - no takers.

Originally Posted By: Dr Popper
Your correct except that no DP has a better piano patch the Roland's SN Studio grand. It's technically perfect and its tonality is superb. You have to go to a VST to get anything that's a more complete patch and even then it's better then most VST's.


Are we including Nords here too?
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland - 01/14/13 10:48 AM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James


Are we including Nords here too?


Yes James .... while a nord XL sample might have great tonality ( and many do ) the patches aren't technically good enough to compete with a SN patch.