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#2004573 - 12/26/12 12:24 PM CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP?
blacken Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Ankara, Turkey
Hi everyone,

I am thinking of actually buying my very first DP in the next few weeks. My budget is around $3000 and the models that I'm considering, as you would expect, are the Yamaha CLP470, Roland HP507 and Kawai CA-63 (not CA-65). I have read almost all the reviews and hundreds of forum messages about these pianos on the Internet. I really hate to get stuck on these technical details and subtle differences but am afraid to make a wrong decision. $3000 may not be too much money when it comes to pianos but it is still a lot of money (especially where I live) and I would like to make a wise decision regarding which DP to buy.

Here's some remarks about my situation:

1. First and foremost, I'm 25 and I do not have any experience whatsoever regarding playing the piano. I mean, none. I have never even touched a piano before. Everyone rightfully suggests that one should try different pianos in the store before making a final decision but this is not possible for me since I don't have any idea as to how the key weights and key action, pedals etc. should feel.

2. I am just a hobbyist and am aware that my budget is a little high for someone who has never played a piano before. The thing is, there is a very good chance that this will be my first and last piano. It is very difficult to sell a DP as second hand in my country (since the demand is very low), thus making a further upgrade not very possible. If I buy a $1500 DP now and then decide to upgrade a year later, then that money will go to waste. So I want to buy the best DP I can now and live with it.

3. The demand to musical instruments in general is very low in my country, so there are very few stores. The store in my city only sells Yamahas. I will have to buy Roland and Kawai on the Internet, which is somewhat risky, if I decide to buy one of these. Even then, the Kawai CA-65 is not available and I can only buy CA-63. The fact that it is now an outdated model is bothering me. I must tell you that after reading almost every relevant post in PW, I am pretty sure that I would go and buy Kawai CA-65 if it was available in a dealer in my city, but unfortunately it is not.

4. I love listening to music and am somewhat into HiFi, although not very high-end. So I'd like to believe that I have somewhat of a trained and good ear (whatever that means). Although I know that I can connect these DPs to software pianos and to external AMPs and speakers, I have no such goal in the short term. So the DP that I will buy must be a good performant out of the box. I can live with a DP sound system that is not excellent, but I will definitely have a problem if it is below average. I heard quite a few complaints about the speakers of Yamaha and Roland DPs and it really bothers me.

The truth is that the Yamaha seems to be the easiest choice for me at the moment, since it is a good brand, I can actually go and see it in the store, touch it and listen to it. And, obviously, the fact that the store is in my hometown is good considering the shipment and installation of the piano as well as any further issues that I may have with the piano. But on the other hand I don't want to pay too much money on a relatively inferior DP just because its brand is Yamaha. I have seen people on this forum that passionately love Kawai and Roland DPs, but almost no one thinks Yamaha is great. People, of course, say that it is not a bad DP. Well, obviously it is not bad given its price, but the question is whether it is good compared to similarly priced Kawai and Roland DPs.

I'm really sorry about the long post but I think the above remarks are important in coming to a decision. I would really love to hear your opinions and suggestions as yours is about the only source that I could and would trust at this moment.

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#2004593 - 12/26/12 01:04 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
You can't go wrong with one of those three pianos. They are all very fine machines.

Yamaha is the big dog in digital pianos. In fact, for many people digital piano and "clavinova" are synonyms. It's a very fine brand and the CLP470 you mention is a good one--I actually really like that NW action, though it doesn't get a lot of discussion here in the forum. In most countries Yamaha is also pretty well priced. I wouldn't discount them.

Having said that, both of the other pianos are very good choices. The CA-63 has been well-beloved in this forum. The action and build should be excellent. The tone engine is distinctively Kawai, which some people like. I'm actually not a huge fan personally. Just make sure you listen to it somewhat (on the internet, if nowhere else) to make sure you personally like the sound.

The Roland you point out is also a very nice machine, with their best action and sounds. It will not disappoint. Roland has been something of a crowd pleaser in terms of onboard sounds and half this forum feels that the PHAIII action is as good as it gets.

Normally at this point I'd suggest playing each one and deciding which feels the best to you. Since you don't play and since all three have excellent actions, I guess you can skip that step. Listen to some demos online and decide which one sounds the way you would like it to, then buy. I really can't say anything bad about any of them and probably any of them would satify you.

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#2004609 - 12/26/12 01:29 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
TrollToddington Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/15/12
Posts: 17
I'd never buy something sight unseen. Been there, done that, and regretted it. The fact that you can play one of them for a while is to be taken into strong consideration. Another point you should consider is to invite a friend of yours who plays the piano to provide you with their opinion on the 470.
My personal opinion is to skip the 470 and get the 440 or the 430. The reason is that the 470 features wooden keys (the white keys are made out of wood) and its keyboard feels considerably lighter to me than that of the 440/430. At least, the 470 does not offer enough to me to justify its higher price. Its basically a 440 with wooden keys which I doubt will help you provided you are a beginner.

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#2004656 - 12/26/12 03:22 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
I would consider go with a class below of that you targeted. Reasons: about for half of this ptice you get very good instruments for long years (and not for the very beginner). And in case You will sell it and precisely because in Your country the demand for used instruments is a problem, it will probably be much more easy to sell an instrument in that price category.

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#2004661 - 12/26/12 03:51 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8370
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
blacken, may I ask where you are based (country and city)?

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

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2004861 - 12/27/12 09:38 AM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: Kawai James]
CarloPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 148
I would avoid the Yamaha unless I'd was a Clavinova fan. It's overpriced and there are, in my humble opinion, better options in the market. I'm not saying it's bad, it's a very high quality instrument but...

Shame you can't buy a CA-65. I've tried it (and also the CA-95) and I'm most impressed with it's action. I bought a Roland HP-305 because I liked it more than the former CA-63. But today I would chose undoubtedly a CA-65 over HP-505 or 507 and, of course, over any Clavinova (just a personal opinion).

Kawai set really high standars with the new GF action.

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#2004895 - 12/27/12 11:07 AM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: CarloPiano]
blacken Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Ankara, Turkey
I sincerely thank each one of you for taking the time to read and reply to my message. I will take your opinions in serious consideration before making my final decision.

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
blacken, may I ask where you are based (country and city)?

I'm sorry for not mentioning this. I live in Ankara, Turkey. There is a Kawai distributor in Turkey, but their website does not list CA-65 as available, unlike CA-63. When I talked to them today, though, they said they could take a CA-65 order if I don't mind waiting 3-4 months for the piano to arrive. In fact, they don't event have CA-63 stocked, the only model they can sell at the moment is a CA-93. What I'd like to ask to you is the difference between CA-63 vs. CA-65 as well as the difference between CA-93 vs CA-95. Although CA-93 is a little pricier, I may go that route as well since they only have that model immediately available and they said that I could have a discount since it is an older model. I really would like to have your opinion on this matter.


Originally Posted By: CarloPiano
Shame you can't buy a CA-65. I've tried it (and also the CA-95) and I'm most impressed with it's action. I bought a Roland HP-305 because I liked it more than the former CA-63. But today I would chose undoubtedly a CA-65 over HP-505 or 507 and, of course, over any Clavinova (just a personal opinion).

I take it that you think there is a serious gap between CA-63 and CA-65 since you say that CA-65 > HP-507 and HP-305 > CA-63, and I presume that HP-507 > HP-305. Am I right in thinking so?

Cheers,

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#2004957 - 12/27/12 01:32 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
CarloPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 148
Originally Posted By: blacken
I take it that you think there is a serious gap between CA-63 and CA-65 since you say that CA-65 > HP-507 and HP-305 > CA-63


It's all a personal opinion of mine but I think that there's a huge improvement (almost a "quantum leap") from the CA-63 to CA-65. CA-65 Action felt impressive to me while CA-63 was nice but it felt rather unauthentic to me (I'm used to all kinds of acoustic pianos). I still have to try the Yamaha Avantgrand hybrids with a "real" action but for now, the CA-65/95 is the best digital piano I've never tried.

Quote:
and I presume that HP-507 > HP-305. Am I right in thinking so?


Well, I didn't find a great difference between the former Roland 30x series and the new 50x. Also the main difference between 305/505 and 307/507 is the speakers + amplifier (plus some piano designer functions which I don't think are essential, that's the reason I saved the +1000 eur the 307 cost over the 305). Also the 307 had a slightly improved action (PHA III) over the 305 (PHA II) but that difference disappeared right now as the 505 and 507 use the same PHA III action.

So, in brief, HP 507 is superior to 305 but since the action is very similar and the sound engine (SuperNatural) is the same, I think it's only a slight improvement. I also didn't notice a huge improvement on their new "Acoustic Projection" system.

Hope this helps :-)

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#2005019 - 12/27/12 03:30 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: blacken
I take it that you think there is a serious gap between CA-63 and CA-65 since you say that CA-65 > HP-507 and HP-305 > CA-63, and I presume that HP-507 > HP-305.


I was looking at HP-307 since it was sold with a discount, even cheaper than HP-505, but came to conclusion that HP-505 sounded better to my ears than 307, at least from built-in speakers, and HP-307 was slightly better through headphones, but the difference was not considerable. So for me 505 vs 307 -> 505 is better. And 507 is better than 505 (the difference was significant enough for me to pay $800+tax more for 507).

507 is improvement over 307, is sounds so much better through built-in speakers, and has more realistic pedal action (or rather pressing effort :)).



Edited by personne (12/27/12 03:34 PM)
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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#2005025 - 12/27/12 03:37 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: personne]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 123
Loc: Toronto, Canada
You still can try the piano sound even if you are not playing - for example, just try to improvise using only white keys, varying spead and volume.
Or ask a seller to assist - they often pianists themselves or have a current / former piano player in staff.

PS. If some model is not available at stores at your country, you can always check youtube with a couple of good headphones.
I think you will not go wrong with action of any of high-end models, just select what you like better as sound.


Edited by personne (12/27/12 03:46 PM)
_________________________
Playing on Roland HP-507RW

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#2005037 - 12/27/12 04:02 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
theoak Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 15
A few years back I had the same decision with regards to the Yamaha 340 versus the 370.

If memory serves, the 370 had the wooden keys and better speaker placement. They both had 4 layers, but the 370 had one additional sample (string vibrations from neighboring keys - something like that???)

For home use, I went with the 340. I had my piano teacher play it at the time. She was VERY anti-electronic and probably in general still is. However, when she came back from the music store, she could not praise it enough. Had it delivered, and it is still going strong.

That extra money you could get yourself an iPad with a Bluetooth foot pedal and use the iPad for your sheet music.

I say go for the 440 versus the 470, if you can ... if you are still considering Yamaha.

Also ... these are "home" use only. It would be challenging to move these things up and down stairs. Granted, much easier than an acoustic, but still ... I wouldn't.


Edited by theoak (12/27/12 04:06 PM)

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#2005046 - 12/27/12 04:13 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 444
Loc: Europe
I would prefer the 505 over the 507. The extra price of the 507 to me would not be worth it, especially not if you are a beginner. The subtle difference in features might be worth to pay expensively for, if you are a very good player with well developed hearing who also has big money to throw out.
The 470 is indeed a nice option! I wouldn´t second what others have commented about its keyboard, that it would be too light. In fact, the very high priced grand pianos often have lighter actions than most DPs. To me it appears that Yamaha and Kawai DPs tend to feature heavier key weights simulating the keys of uprights, while Roland features the lighter actions simulating grand pianos. The resistance (heavier keys) helps with the dynamic expression, though, and that might be the reason that so many people prefer heavier keys. The 470 action is still noticable heavier than the HP 500 series keys. Because everything which is not the digital piano sound and keyboard does not make me happy on my HP 505, I would have hope that the Yamaha is better in the extras. If you want more than only a digital piano, so interested also in organ sounds, well designed metronome, etc..., and I recommend that you as a beginner should be open for this (you never know where your journey is going to), then compare also this features carefully. If only interested in the pinao thing, then the Hp 505 is excellent.
_________________________
learning Piano on my Roland HP-505
before playing Drums in adults bluesband on handpicked set; before crashing E-Guitar in kids garage band; raised on home entertainment Organ and Keyboard models Eminent Solina P240, Farfisa Maharani 259R, Technics KN800, and on Mouth Organ, Recorder and Accordion

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#2005128 - 12/27/12 07:26 PM Re: CLP470, HP507 or CA-63 as the first DP? [Re: blacken]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8370
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: blacken
What I'd like to ask to you is the difference between CA-63 vs. CA-65 as well as the difference between CA-93 vs CA-95. Although CA-93 is a little pricier, I may go that route as well since they only have that model immediately available and they said that I could have a discount since it is an older model. I really would like to have your opinion on this matter.


Hello blacken, I posted a list of the new CAx5 features a little while ago over in another thread:

Quote:
Chaps, here's a list of the new features/improvements made to the CA95 (compared to the CA93), off the top of my head:

- GF keyboard action (longer keys, longer pivot point, 3-sensor, more counter weights)
- HI-XL sampling
- 256 note polyphony
- More powerful generator (improved reverb, effects, noises, modelled resonance, amp sim, etc.)
- Many more Virtual Technician parameters
- Improved sounds (jazz grands, upright piano, EPs)
- Larger LCD, improved user interface
- Improved Soundboard Speaker system
- Line In recording
- Load/Save registrations and settings from/to USB
- USB audio recorder improvements (overdubbing, line-in recording, recorder gain, SMF-->MP3)
- Improved cabinet design (including metallic KAWAI lettering)
- Grand Feel Pedal System (correct weighting of all three pedals)
- Adjustable music rest angle
- Lower power consumption (including auto power-off)
- More compact jack panel, headphone/USB jacks mounted at front of instrument
- Higher model number


http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1997102

Without a doubt, the CAx5 series is a considerable upgrade over the previous generation CAx3 series.

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

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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