Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350

Posted by: Phat Ham

Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 05:21 PM

I realize these are not really compared since they are in different price brackets, but somehow these two boards have me interested. My main instrument is bass guitar, and I play a little bit of synth bass on a Moog Little Phatty. I want to learn piano for real so am looking for a digital or stage piano. My top priorities are keybed feel and acoustic piano sound. I don't need speakers since I have a pair of monitors. I also don't need a lot of MIDI controller functionality since 95% of the time I will be playing piano and only piano. (What I really want is an acoustic piano, but size and noise issues won't let me get one).

Everything I read about the px350 says how great it is, but always with the caveat "for the price". What I'd like some input on is whether or not the MP6 is in a completely different league than the PX350 in terms of keybed feel and AP sound, or are they in reality pretty close?
Posted by: voxpops

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 06:53 PM

A few things to bear in mind:

MP6: 88 note sampling
PX-350: Stretched sample set

MP6: Damper string resonance + Sympathetic resonance
PX-350: Damper string resonance only

MP6: RH two-sensor action incorporating simulated let-off
PX-350: three-sensor action without let-off

Personally, I prefer the acoustic piano tone on the Kawai to that on Casio Privias.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 07:01 PM

Phat Ham, voxpop's comparison is pretty accurate - to be honest, I believe you'd be happy with either board.

If you're primarily interested in piano, you could perhaps save a little money and opt for the PX-150, which I believe features the same piano action and sound as the PX-350. The only problem is perhaps the lack of proper line out connectors...

Cheers,
James
x
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 08:33 PM

The simple reality is they are waaaay closer their their price difference would indicate. I think previous Casio actions were good (not amazing) and well designed to compete with Yamaha's models featuring GHS action. I think the new Casio action is stellar without thinking about "for the price" and truly remarkable for the overall weight. I only compare them to higher level actions now.

If you look at the console PX-850, you'll add string resonance, key off resonance, and a lid simulator not found on the PX-350 piano sounds. That won't tell you how much you like it, but it puts them technically in a very similar league.

(The miniature lid on the cabinet is not the same as the lid simulator effect).
Posted by: RBMusik

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 10:09 PM

I absolutely disagree with that assessment. I find the MP6 to be a much more substantial instrument than the Casio. Im not shunning the latter, but to say its a "simple reality" is off base. Build quality alone puts the Kawai in a different league. Not huge, but definitely noticeable. The upward tilted panel, knobs, sliders, metal and wood construction alone grants the upper price tag. I found the Casio action more noisy, the overall quality uninspiring and features a bit gimmicky... Especially the key texture. just opinions. Now that said, based on your requirements of learning the piano better, the Casio would likely fit the bill rather perfectly. If its all about the keybed and learning... Casio. If its potential gigging, MIDI controlling, outstanding grand piano action, good DP, organ, EP sounds and solid build quality... Kawai. hope this helps.
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 10:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Phat Ham
I want to learn piano for real so am looking for a digital or stage piano. My top priorities are keybed feel and acoustic piano sound...I also don't need a lot of MIDI controller functionality since 95% of the time I will be playing piano and only piano...What I'd like some input on is whether or not the MP6 is in a completely different league than the PX350 in terms of keybed feel and AP sound, or are they in reality pretty close?
RB, it's all about the OP's questions. If he had asked about certain extras or MIDI controls or ruggedness for gigging or even style points, that's where, like you said, the MP6 separates itself.

I get such diverse reactions from customers to different DP sounds that I would only address the technical side of the question. You have to move up to the PX-850 or AP-450/650 to be in the same league of AP sounds, speaking technically. The rest is subjective as usual.

Also, the new Casio action is actually pretty quiet...my natural question is how much quieter could another's hammer action be?
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 11:05 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Also, the new Casio action is actually pretty quiet...my natural question is how much quieter could another's hammer action be?


Perhaps you should give it a try and find out? wink

James
x
Posted by: RBMusik

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/30/13 11:46 PM

Fair enough. Sounds are indeed subjective. I was turned away by sound and feel.... the almost gritty fake feel of the Casio keys, but not sure if they all come that way.
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 12:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Perhaps you should give it a try and find out? wink
Hi James. I admit I've only played the MP6 a couple of times, spending more time on the Kawai consoles. I've watched several demos to become familiar with the concepts and sounds. I don't spend much time on Roland's RD's either, but there is tremendous overlap, and I try to keep my comments in line.

I've never had the luxury of a silent room to focus on just the action noise they way I have after hours in our store with the variety of models and brands we carry. I'm not bothered by regular action noises (just the irregular ones wink ), but I hear differences.
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 12:43 AM

I agree that Casio went further than I would have on the new textured keys. FWIW, I actually gave that feedback in the first week of having the newest Privias. Some customers seem to love it, most shrug their shoulders and just accept the feature and a few feel strongly for something else. That all seems normal to me.

What actually made me smile was that of all of the pianos in our store and warehouse, only a couple of Kawai RX grands from late 1990's - early 2000's match that keytop texture, and that is only on the sharps. Their naturals are nice and subtle. (I wander if the keytop designer for Casio owned one of those Kawais? The match is almost perfect...if I get clever, I'll figure out how to photograph it.)

Old, original ivories (before re-sanding and buffing) have that kind of strong texture. That's the one area where I liked the previous AP-420/620 naturals better.
Posted by: RBMusik

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 09:00 AM

Now that I'm having some proper time to dig into the AP patches on the MP6 and tweak them, I'm getting more impressed with the board. Without guessing their intention, I think they made the right move in presenting stock sounds. They start out a little 'short', dry, uninspired but as you develop your own tone, I find them a little mid heavy for my desire for warmth... Nothing a little EQ doesn't fix. And the verbs take a little digging to get natural decay right. After some adjustments, I A-B compared some quality software APs like Bardstown 290 Bosendorfer, and a few others. With a slight bass bump... I got great results. Couple that with the better built-in sym resonance implementations and soft pedaling characteristics and it's just a nice machine.

BUT, the upside is the downside here since some don't like to dig. I definitely wouldn't put this board at the top of a novice list. It's strengths would come across as weaknesses.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 10:18 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Old, original ivories (before re-sanding and buffing) have that kind of strong texture.

Yes... I've played old pianos that feel like that. So I don't think what Casio did is really inauthentic, I think it just may seem that way because so many people have never played a real piano that didn't have plastic keys. So, oddly, the feel of plastic has become what a lot of people associate with a "real" piano.
Posted by: Nigeth

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 10:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James

Perhaps you should give it a try and find out? wink


Well if we're strictly speaking about the MP6 (I didn't have the opportunity to try the MP10 or VPC1 yet) then in my experience the MP6's action is actually quite 'loud'.

I can hear a clearly audible *whoomp* sound when I press or depress a key on my MP6.
Posted by: RBMusik

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 12:31 PM

Im glad you agree its a little much Sam:)
@ scott: Older or traditional is probably less of a charged term than "real". I have a modern instrument with plastic keys and also own an early 1900 Laffargue Upright with ivory keys. There is nothing unreal about an instrument that doesn't employ ivory. It was simply a design decision that is no longer smart or plausible. And, we can mimick sanded or raw ivories, but most traditional ivory keys are indeed fairly smooth. To put out a keyboard that has a feel that few have ever encountered seems a little off to me though. I played them and kept thinking about how hard it would be to return to the over 99% of keys that don't have this texture. Nice discussion. I hope this helps the OP pick his winner!
Posted by: HisKidd

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 02:09 PM

RBMusik...
You're going to find that the MP6 has more adjustments than you'll ever be able to use. The possibilities for tweaking all the nuances of a piano sound are amazing. There is no way I would ever compare the piano action of the MP6 with the Casio. Two different animals.

My personal opinion is that all the talk about the "unsatisfactory" sounds of the MP6 have more to do with learning the nuances of adjustment than anything latent in the build. For the price, the MP6 is one of the best boards available. Remember, it does everything the MP10 does, and more (onboard sounds, presets, storage banks, etc.) for about $1,000 less. When you read the "DPBSD" project here in the forums, you'll discover that the MP10 and MP6 compare very favorable in sound quality (even surprised the tester).
You may want to check out my "MP6 Kawai User's" Thread:
MP6 User's Thread

Here you'll find a short tutorial on settings, and a sample of the Concert Grand 1 settings. The thread is a work in progress, and I'll be posting settings for all twelve pianos. As to the OP question about comparison. Just my own opinion, but simply an unfair comparison! You are spot on in your remark about not putting this board out there for novices... I'm two years in and still learning the nuances of fine tuning!
Regards!
H.K. cool
Posted by: HisKidd

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 02:37 PM

Nigeth...
I find when playing my MP6, I never hear the sound of the keys while using the Sennheiser HD 205's; and I never hear the sound of the keys while playing with external speakers. I have compared this board's key sounds to others, and find that it is quite subtle. There are other threads here in the forum that address just this question, and the MP6 has faired very well. Whatever mimimal sound comes from depressing the keys will be more than compensated by the Grand Action feel. One of the wonderful things about the MP6 is that the individual keys compare in size and functionality to the keys on an acoustic grand - solid, thick, and gradually weighted- so you get that same feel when playing the MP6!
Regards!
H.K. cool
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 02:41 PM

Originally Posted By: HisKidd
There is no way I would ever compare the piano action of the MP6 with the Casio. Two different animals.

Personally, I prefer the Casio PX350 action to that of the Kawai MP6. I didn't like the PX330 action very much, though. But, as always, there's a lot of subjectivity to these things.
Posted by: HisKidd

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: HisKidd
There is no way I would ever compare the piano action of the MP6 with the Casio. Two different animals.

Personally, I prefer the Casio PX350 action to that of the Kawai MP6. I didn't like the PX330 action very much, though. But, as always, there's a lot of subjectivity to these things.


I agree, anotherscott...
It very much is a personal preference.. to each his own...
Regards,
H.K. cool
Posted by: RBMusik

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 01/31/13 08:25 PM

Thanks H.K. I'll check out that thread.
Posted by: Phat Ham

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/02/13 09:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Phat Ham, voxpop's comparison is pretty accurate - to be honest, I believe you'd be happy with either board.

If you're primarily interested in piano, you could perhaps save a little money and opt for the PX-150, which I believe features the same piano action and sound as the PX-350. The only problem is perhaps the lack of proper line out connectors...

Cheers,
James
x

I looked at the px150 but you're right the lack of proper line outs kind of knocked it out of the running for me.
Posted by: Phat Ham

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/02/13 09:15 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
The simple reality is they are waaaay closer their their price difference would indicate. I think previous Casio actions were good (not amazing) and well designed to compete with Yamaha's models featuring GHS action. I think the new Casio action is stellar without thinking about "for the price" and truly remarkable for the overall weight. I only compare them to higher level actions now.

If you look at the console PX-850, you'll add string resonance, key off resonance, and a lid simulator not found on the PX-350 piano sounds. That won't tell you how much you like it, but it puts them technically in a very similar league.

(The miniature lid on the cabinet is not the same as the lid simulator effect).
I need to be able to "put away" the keyboard once in a while so consoles are out for me unfortunately.
Posted by: Phat Ham

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/02/13 09:26 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. I'm 90% sure I will go with the px350. For my needs and my level of playing I don't think I can justify the extra cost of the mp6. I figure if i grow unhappy with the sound of the px350 I can buy Ivory and still come in a few hundred bucks less than the cost of an mp6.
Posted by: FrankDaddy

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/02/13 11:55 PM

I actually own both boards ( a long story). I prefer the APs and EPs on the MP6 and prefer the keyboard and the lack of weight on the px350. I travel with the PX350 for a practice instrument. I will look at the PX5 once it shows up in a showroom and may pair it with my Hammond for gigging. Lugging a 50 pound keyboard is getting old for this old back. I agree that the PX350 will make a pretty good VP keyboard. That is where we are heading anyway. But Kawai builds solid and dependable instruments that last forever. I still have a ES4 I use in my office. Good luck on your choice. either one would be a good decision.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/03/13 09:56 AM

Originally Posted By: FrankDaddy
I actually own both boards ( a long story). I prefer the APs and EPs on the MP6 and prefer the keyboard and the lack of weight on the px350. ...
I will look at the PX5 once it shows up in a showroom

Yes, the PX5 has greatly improved EPs, it will be interesting to see if they are competitive with the MP6 as that was a weakness of the PX350. There was also mention that there is improvement to the AP sound as well, improved resonance and more variations and customizability so it may be easier to find something you're happy with.
Posted by: JFP

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/04/13 04:16 PM

We'll, it's comparing a stage piano / master keyboard controller with the previous generation of sound generator and keybed (mp6) with a pure stage piano (less controller) that has a current generation of sound engine and keybed. It would make more sense to compare an ES7 to the PX350 in terms of feature set and release date of the product. But I assume in your country the ES plays in a different price range than the MP6 , which makes the ES not an option ?

Here at least they cost the roughly the same and in that case IMHO the ES7 is a clear winner in terms of build quality, keybed, EP sound and perhaps also AP sound (that last one also depends on personal preference ).

As for the noise of the MP6 keys; there could be some differences between one unit and another, but at least all MP6 machines I've seen and played so far made very little key noise. The quietest keybed I've encountered in this range. The new ES is a bit noisier ( bit more thumping). I think the Casio is roughly at the same level as the ES as far as key noise is concerned.

If you're not interested in speakers at all, as you said, I would now either go for the PX5S , or if you're not in any hurry wait for an MP6 follow up , if that ever materializes. Could be another year, could be MusikMesse, who knows...

Non of these boards is terribly bad to start learning to play some piano by the way ;-)
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/04/13 04:38 PM

True, in terms of overall functionality (i.e. MIDI controller, but no speakers), the PX-5S is closer to the MP6 than the PX-350 is, and the PX-350 might be better compared with something like the ES7.
Posted by: Mike_Martin

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/04/13 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: anotherscott
True, in terms of overall functionality (i.e. MIDI controller, but no speakers), the PX-5S is closer to the MP6 than the PX-350 is, and the PX-350 might be better compared with something like the ES7.


Agree completely here.
Posted by: FrankDaddy

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/04/13 11:09 PM

The ES series with the fewer sounds and built in speakers are functionally the same as the PX-350. I bought the PX 350 for a lightweight self contained piano to replace my Kawai ES4. The ES4 has been retired to my office as a practice board. But the ES7 is about $1,900+- here in the US and the 350 is about $800 street. So the price/perfomance of the Privia is very strong. Again you cannot go wrong with either board. I have no regrets about buying either boards.
Posted by: Phat Ham

Re: Kawai MP6 vs Casio PX350 - 02/05/13 01:23 PM

Originally Posted By: JFP
Here at least they cost the roughly the same and in that case IMHO the ES7 is a clear winner in terms of build quality, keybed, EP sound and perhaps also AP sound (that last one also depends on personal preference ).

Non of these boards is terribly bad to start learning to play some piano by the way ;-)
Here in the USA the typical advertised price for the MP6 is $1500, while the ES7 is $2000. The PX-350 is $800 and the PX-5s is rumored to be $1000. I thought about waiting for the PX-5S but didn't think the extra $200 would be worth it for a bunch of features I mostly won't use.

I pulled the trigger on a PX-350. It just made the most sense to me.