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#341885 - 10/16/07 03:30 PM Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
KB1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 6
Loc: New York
Hi,

I am almost ready to buy a brand new and first piano for my son! I will also probably take lessons even though it is a little late for me (I’m 42 yrs old) \:\) I have spent a lot of hours reading this forum and have also visited a couple of dealers. My wife and I have finally narrowed our choice down to two models, the Charles Walter 1520 and the Kawai K-5 based on a variety of factors.

Having read the reviews on both, I know that both would be excellent choices but I wanted to know if the more experienced users would consider these choices to be in very different leagues. My understanding is that while the 1520 is shorter it is often compared to much bigger uprights and even to baby grands. I have listed to both and they both sounded great to my untrained ears but any insight would greatly appreciated. I apologize in advance if this question has been asked many times before but I have not seen any direct comparison between these two pianos. Thank you.

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#341886 - 10/16/07 04:15 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
David Marsden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Utah
I'd go with the Walter, as long as it's a newer model with the Renner action, not the Langer action, or the Walter action.

That said, if a dealer has on older unit on the floor, with Langer, and the price is stellar, go for it.
_________________________
David Marsden
Sales & Marketing
Baldassin Pianos
Fazioli • Schimmel • Estonia • Vogel
Pramberger • Charles Walter • Nordiska
--
How come people recite at a play and play at a recital?

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#341887 - 10/16/07 06:29 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
KB1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 6
Loc: New York
Thanks a lot for the response David. Do you end up giving the edge to the Walter for the sound or hand-built quality (or both)?

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#341888 - 10/16/07 06:36 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Glenn Grafton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Souderton PA
Realistically, you should be comparing the Charles Walter to the Kawai UST-9 or the decorator 906 models, all of which are 46" tall — still taller than the 45" the Walter is.

The K-5 - and the K-3 both are just better sounding pianos than any 45" studio piano can be.

The other advantage of the Kawai is that it has the Millenium III action which has better control on softer passages and offers faster repetition (17%).

The Walter piano is well made and has a good reputation but this is an apples and oranges comparison. I have a customer upgrading from the same size Charles Walter you're considering -- guess what they're getting -- a K-5.
_________________________
Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA
877-GRAFTON (877-472-3866)
Remove "nospam" in email address.
glenn@nospamgraftonpiano.com

Grafton Piano Home Page

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#341889 - 10/16/07 07:55 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Paul C Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 34
Loc: Virginia
I would consider the K-3 or even the Yamaha U-1 in the same league as the CW 1520. Im still trying to decide between the three. I sent you a PM so maybe we can share results. As a fellow noob to this forum you will get a lot of opinions on all of them. I seemed to get more positive feedback on the CW so check the historical posts.
_________________________
One day my son will be a great pianist or baseball player. Or he could always end up playing the organ at the stadium. Charles Walter 1500

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#341890 - 10/16/07 08:45 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Glenn Grafton:
[QB] Realistically, you should be comparing the Charles Walter to the Kawai UST-9 or the decorator 906 models, all of which are 46" tall — still taller than the 45" the Walter is.

The K-5 - and the K-3 both are just better sounding pianos than any 45" studio piano can be.
__________________________________________________

Are you saying taller is better. What about design? I'll bet the strings are much longer and the soundboard is much bigger in the Walter. And the action will perform just as well.
The UST-9 and the 906's are much cheaper. (Less expensive)
Both of these Kawai models are made in Indonesia.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
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#341891 - 10/16/07 08:56 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Paul C Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 34
Loc: Virginia
CW 1500 soundboard 2090 square inches
K-3 2224 sq inches

CW 1500 speaking length of longest base string 48.25 inches (this is bigger than the k-5 as well)
k-3 46.9"

From CW and Kawai Brochures
_________________________
One day my son will be a great pianist or baseball player. Or he could always end up playing the organ at the stadium. Charles Walter 1500

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#341892 - 10/16/07 09:05 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
pd,

Do you have specs on the UST-9 and the 906?
I do know they are the same piano with diffrent cabinets.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
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#341893 - 10/16/07 10:23 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
swampwiz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 561
Loc: Louisiana, USA
The Charles Walter is a premium instrument, that the Kawai is not. Even though the console may be 43", it outperforms all but the best of the uprights.

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#341894 - 10/17/07 09:25 AM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Glenn Grafton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Souderton PA
 Quote:
Do you have specs on the UST-9 and the 906?
I do know they are the same piano with diffrent cabinets.
Link for UST-9

Actually the new model is the 907. Same piano internally as the USt-9 only in a decorator cabinet.

Link for 906
_________________________
Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA
877-GRAFTON (877-472-3866)
Remove "nospam" in email address.
glenn@nospamgraftonpiano.com

Grafton Piano Home Page

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#341895 - 10/17/07 09:45 AM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Glenn Grafton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Souderton PA
 Quote:
he Charles Walter is a premium instrument, that the Kawai is not. Even though the console may be 43", it outperforms all but the best of the uprights.
Ahh I re-read the original post. The question was a choice between a 43" console and a 49" professional upright?

Folks, this is a no brainer. I've had a new Charles Walter 45" model in the store here and side by side a 45" Yamaha or 46" Kawai. Personally I preferred the latter two but I could see that some would prefer the CW in an apples to apples comparison size wise.

I've NEVER ever had a family with a 48-49" upright trade it in on a console — ever. I've had many however upgrade from a console to an upright as their child's playing demands the deeper bass and increased action response. Why is that?

There's an interesting article on someone in the same situation as the original poster. Check it out here.
_________________________
Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA
877-GRAFTON (877-472-3866)
Remove "nospam" in email address.
glenn@nospamgraftonpiano.com

Grafton Piano Home Page

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#341896 - 10/17/07 10:44 AM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
KB1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 6
Loc: New York
Thanks guys for all the valuable feedback. Yes, I was comparing the CW 43in 1520 console to the 50in K-5 Kawai. That said, as mentioned, I have heard that the length of the strings was such that the CW compared favorably to most professional uprights, including the K-5. That said, given the quality of the K-5, it is maybe a stretch to compare a 43in console to a 50in professional upright, hmmmm….What’s interesting is if you look at Larry Fine’s 07-08 supplement, a CW is actually rated higher than a Kawai (expect for the Shigeru), so does that the size difference really gives the edge to the K-5? Still trying to figure it out, especially given that the K-5 would be more expensive.

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#341897 - 10/17/07 12:49 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Glenn Grafton:

I've NEVER ever had a family with a 48-49" upright trade it in on a console — ever. I've had many however upgrade from a console to an upright as their child's playing demands the deeper bass and increased action response. Why is that?
_________________________________________________

Why, most consoles are not even close to the Walter quality. So for most it is an upgrade.

The Kawai K-5 is a very nice piano, I will not argue that.

You were comparing the Walter to the 46'1/2" Kawais made in Indonesia. That is a no brainer. The Walter wins.
The Walter is a 3'1/2" inch smaller piano and has longer stings and larger soundboard than the Kawais you are comparing with.
The Walter has better bass, better sustain, better materials and plays better than most uprights out there.

The Walter may look like a console but it performs like a 48" upright.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#341898 - 10/17/07 01:00 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
David Marsden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Utah
Originally posted by Rod Verhnjak:
 Quote:
The Walter may look like a console but it performs like a 48" upright.
I couldn't agree more.

Glenn has a customer "upgrading" from a Walter to a K-5? Sounds like more of a lateral move to me! \:D
_________________________
David Marsden
Sales & Marketing
Baldassin Pianos
Fazioli • Schimmel • Estonia • Vogel
Pramberger • Charles Walter • Nordiska
--
How come people recite at a play and play at a recital?

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#341899 - 10/17/07 03:58 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Glenn Grafton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Souderton PA
 Quote:
Glenn has a customer "upgrading" from a Walter to a K-5? Sounds like more of a lateral move to me!
One of the difficulties of this forum is that you are hearing dealers carrying Charles Walter pianos hashing things over with a dealer that carries Kawai pianos.

Try this too on both pianos. Play the keys as soft as you can and see how soft you can play while still producing a tone. Test the repetition of the keys as well. The carbon fiber Millenium III actions repeat 17% faster than traditional wood actions.

Do yourself a favor and get a friend that has a good set of ears that plays. Let them try both pianos and give you their feedback on which one sounds and feels the best.
_________________________
Glenn Grafton
Grafton Piano & Organ Co.
Souderton PA
877-GRAFTON (877-472-3866)
Remove "nospam" in email address.
glenn@nospamgraftonpiano.com

Grafton Piano Home Page

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#341900 - 10/17/07 04:10 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
guest1013 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 1239
Fascinating, I am looking at a similar decision but with used pianos. The Kawai sounds very nice in this case.

I suppose you'll have to see which you like playing/hearing more and then look hard at the price. For me the price is a big issue and right now I am more partial to the Walter. I just like playing it. I also like that it is made in the USA and it will be part of our living room furniture. So could Kawai win a test of playing? Yes, I suppose so. Am I logical and deciding based only tests? no, i find that i am so subjective in thinking about this.

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#341901 - 10/17/07 04:34 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
KB1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 6
Loc: New York
tough decision but the price differential and the feel/reviews of the walter will end up swaying me that way i think.

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#341902 - 10/17/07 05:23 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
David Marsden Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 43
Loc: Utah
Glenn wrote:
 Quote:
One of the difficulties of this forum is that you are hearing dealers carrying Charles Walter pianos hashing things over with a dealer that carries Kawai pianos.
I thought "hashing things over" was a bit extreme!

I think anyone who has played a Walter would agree that they have a large sound for their size. Specifications such as soundboard area and string length help explain this.

With regard to my comment about a lateral move, I stand behind my statement that moving from a Walter upright to a Kawai upright isn't much of a step in (arguably) any direction. Moving from a K-5 to an RX-3 is an upgrade. But your implication that it's a step up going from a Walter console to a K-5 is a bit of an exaggeration.
_________________________
David Marsden
Sales & Marketing
Baldassin Pianos
Fazioli • Schimmel • Estonia • Vogel
Pramberger • Charles Walter • Nordiska
--
How come people recite at a play and play at a recital?

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#341903 - 10/17/07 06:32 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Glenn Grafton:
One of the difficulties of this forum is that you are hearing dealers carrying Charles Walter pianos hashing things over with a dealer that carries Kawai pianos.
________________________________________________

Hashing??

You made some pretty poor comments before I came on the seen I thought it would be only fair to have you back them up.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#341904 - 10/17/07 08:18 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
CMS Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/14/02
Posts: 99
I have owned a of a CW 1500 for several years now. I can attest that it is a very nice piano that I highly recommend it. I have the Langer action, which is actually quite nice and, in my opinion, it is comparable with Renner actions in other pianos. In fact, a lot of people apparently like the Langer action very much.

That being said, if you check the archives, you will find that folks highly experienced in piano construction (like Del Fandrich, the designer of CW 190 and 175) consider *strict* comparison of speaking string length and soundboard area without merit - sorry for being blunt. The real test of a piano's musical qualities is how it sounds/plays in reality. There are simply way too many parameters and the science of piano quality is not that precise to be measured in a few numbers. I liked the Walter, but others might not like it.

The height issue is a bit tricky. CW 1500 is actually 45inch tall and it is exactly the same piano like 1520 - just different cabinet with smaller wheels. CW uprights are packed really tight, so they tend to be smaller. That is not to say that height is not very likely to matter when everything is equal. M&H upright is 50in and sounds a lot better than a lot of taller pianos!

Kawai makes nice pianos, but which sound or action you like depends entirely on you. Regarding manufacturing/material, CW is high in absolute terms and an excellent value for the money. Kawai is not bad either, but they are basically mass-produced, which might imply a somewhat lesser manufacturing quality, but also economy of scale.

At some point, this is as much a decision about musical qualities as well as an emotional one. You cannot go wrong with either, trust your instinct!

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#341905 - 10/17/07 10:14 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
CMS,

You are correct about the size of the board and string length not being the reason to say a piano is better. I have heard many 7 foot pianos that sounded bad and had poor sustain. So bigger is not always better.

But in the case of the Walters it was a design feature that Mr. Walter wanted to incorporate in a smaller case. The piano could easily been 4 inches taller with the same plate installed.

Pointing out long strings and a larger soundboard area is used to explain WHY it sounds so good compared to some other pianos.

There are many taller pianos out there that do not sound good, and that is the point of not judging by size alone.

Some larger boards are just energy sponges and thus going by the size alone is useless. The use of cutoff bars makes a board measurment comparison worthless.

So your right forget about all the sales garb. Go with what feels and sounds the best in your budget.

But if in the end if you wounder why a smaller piano sounds better than many larger ones. It is back to the design and quality of materials being utilized.

For salesmen to equate a bigger piano as better is just nonsense. Although there are some better bigger pianos.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#341906 - 10/20/07 05:48 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
KB1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 6
Loc: New York
Is a 40% discount off the 2007/2008 Larry Fine price for a brand new Queen Anne Satin Cherry a fair deal? The price does not include delivery but does include one tuning at the dealer and one in-home tuning.

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#341907 - 10/20/07 05:51 PM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
KB1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 6
Loc: New York
I meant for a Charles Walter 1520. Thanks.

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#341908 - 10/21/07 04:48 AM Re: Comparison between Charles Walter 1520 and Kawai K-5
swampwiz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 561
Loc: Louisiana, USA
I used to own the Charles Walter 1520, and have only played one other upright that was better, and that was the 52" Schimmel. I have played all the Kawai's and Yahamas of any size, and the CW was better. I would even go so far as to say the CW was better than a Steinway!

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