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Greetings,

Although the Spring 2018 issue of the Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer is in the process of being printed and laid out for web/mobile viewing, we figured it would be nice to offer our Piano World forum friends an advance look at our review of the new Kawai Novus NV10 Hybrid.

https://www.pianobuyer.com/Articles...t-Look-at-Kawai-8217-s-Novus-NV10-Hybrid

It's likely that this link's URL may change once the new issue goes "live", so at that point you can find it through the main www.pianobuyer.com web portal (or click our advertising link on the Piano World site). The ratings and comments sections of the Piano Buyer site are now active, so you have a chance to respond to our articles-- note that comments are moderated (for language, spam, etc.) and then posted a few days afterward.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you find the review both comprehensive, objective, and informative!


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Very helpful review, TerminalDegree.

I see one of these bad boys in my future -- maybe even before I'm carted off to the Home.


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Thanks for posting the link!

A very nice article, well written and well researched. It is interesting to read about your impressions when comparing directly to the various acoustic Kawai grands that were at the show.


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"Kawai’s digital division has a good reputation for responding to customer feedback and offering complimentary software/firmware updates."

Half a year after lauching the CA78 and C98 (with the same touchscreen as the NV10) Kawai has still not corrected the biggest bugs. I'm not sure the good reputation will last long if they continue so...


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Good review - nicely written with lots of useful information. However, it is missing one key aspect of the review: how does it compare with Yamaha AvantGrand N1/N2 - which are its likely competitors at this time. I would like to hear about this from a professional piano reviewer.

Thanks,
Osho


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Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): Pianoteq 7/VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Embertone Walker D Full

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That was a good article, very well written. I especially liked reading about the amplification and speakers, since I use them so infrequently I definitely learned a few new things about them (particularly the volume output).

I'd also like to see a comparison with the AG series, not so much "which action feels better" but whether the sound output on the NV10 is more comparable to the 1 or 2.


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Regarding a comparison to the AvantGrand, it was impossible to accomplish at the show, even though both pianos were there. I tried to make a point of playing an AG, first thing on the same morning of this review, but my "alone time" with the Novus at the Kawai room was well into the night, after the show had closed for the day. I probably played 25 pianos (and walked a few miles) between that morning and the evening. The Yamaha exhibit at the Marriott is always quite noisy (imagine drum sets, amps and guitars, band instruments, acoustic pianos, digital pianos, synths... all in the same room, being played at the same time). I can't speak to the comparative action performance because of the circumstances, other than to say the N3X I played that morning did also feel like a grand piano action, and that the two actions did feel different, so one would do well to try both, if possible, before making a decision.


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Originally Posted by Osho
Good review - nicely written with lots of useful information. However, it is missing one key aspect of the review: how does it compare with Yamaha AvantGrand N1/N2 - which are its likely competitors at this time. I would like to hear about this from a professional piano reviewer.

Thanks,
Osho


I played one and while I would love to play it in a professional situation, I just wouldn't want to own one as my practice \ personal piano.

Of course, a well written article wouldn't include my previous sentence.

An article is just that; if you're thinking of buying this piano, play it first. If you like it, great.


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Interesting review.

The only big omission from my point of view was that lack of discussion about use over headphones (though I understand why this happened).

One of the biggest (perhaps the biggest, certainly for me) reasons that people get digital pianos over acoustics is that they primarily want to use them over headphones.

So not really addressing that is a shame.

When it eventually turns up in London I plan on rolling up with my ATX50s and HD650s and trying them out!

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I tried the Novus NV10 yesterday. I was very disappointed.

I own a Kawai grand (and a Schimmel grand), and have also played often on a Shigeru Kawai at a friend's house, and I love the Kawai action. I was excited with the Novus NV10 announcement, and have waited since last October to try one with every intention to buy it. The action was nothing like those of the 2 Kawai grands I have been playing on. I don't understand! I thought it was even worse than some other digital non-hybrid. The keys were bouncing when released. Some of the gaps between the keys weren't even: with some gaps tighter, some gaps wider. The sound was ok, but a bit underwhelming, through the built-in speakers. Sound through headphones was better, but not great. It has the "classic, jazz, romantic,..." modes, which didn't make sense or noticeably different.

I tried the Yamaha N3 when it came out for my brother, and recommended it, and have played on it quite a bit since my brother bought it. Also the N3X (at NAMM), N2, and N1 (at a store). I have to say the Yamaha's action was better. I liked the N3 and N3X's sounds better. N2 and N1's sounds are somewhat the same as the NV10, ok but not great.

I was also excited about the Casio GP500 and disappointed. The keyboard action was ok, better than the Kawaii, despite not having "let-off". But the sound on the GP-500 was really dull, and not responding to touch-sensitive well at all.

Of the 3 brands, NV10 had the worst action, and GP500 had the worst sound.

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Hello QXN, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the NV10.

As you may be aware, the reaction to the NV10 from dealers and customers since the instrument launched has been overwhelmingly positive, so it's always interesting to hear from dissenting voices.

May I ask which model Kawai grand you own, and the name of the store you visited to play-test the NV10, please?

Kind regards,
James
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Interesting. I’ve tried the NV10 and thought it was a very beautiful machine but it didn’t really ‘speak’ to me. The Yamaha N1 and N2 felt nicer to play, even if these models are getting a little dated.


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Very interesting review.
I did not know about the "damper pedal depressed" feature and I share your sentiment about a harpsichord sound.

I see you have mentioned the Touchscreen and the Settings. I feel the issues with it are far deeper and fundamental than the "awkwardness in the fingertip control".

They touch the very area of settings which is indeed powerful as you have pointed out, but are extremely frustrating and time consuming to use, to a degree that I believe a lot of people just don't bother.
Read other threads in this forum to find more.

And definitely, there should be a further update in your next newsletter to see if Kawai's reputation is really deserved.

I was not aware of www.pianobuyer.com: good to know it exists.

Last edited by Audetto; 05/16/18 04:08 PM.

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Originally Posted by Audetto

I was not aware of www.pianobuyer.com: good to know it exists.


Thank you for reading. In recent years, we've been releasing reviews of as many or more digital products than acoustic ones. We're just putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive look at the Dexibell Vivo with a lot of supplemental video content right now.


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Hi Kawai James,

We have the RX-5H. I am still stumped about why the NV10 didn't feel as good as the other Kawai's grands I am familiar with. I did try to play against other Kawai grands there in the showroom that day, and concluded that I didn't like the Novus NV10 action. Maybe I was too particular about action. For example, I tried many Steinway's, and concluded that their actions were all over the board, meaning there was no consistency. Some too heavy, some too light, some just right. Of course, the Steinway dealers all told me that each Steinway is a "unique" instrument. But I find Kawai, Yamaha, Schimmel, Boston, and Bosendorder have much consistent actions. Another action I loved was Boston, which wasn't surprising, as Kawai made them (and the piano) too. In fact, if I have to pick blind, I would pick Boston over Steinway any day.

As for the store name, the owner and I have had a good relationship. I traded my Young Chang in for my current 7-ft Schimmel, bought a Nordiska, later traded that in for the current RX-5H, and brought friends in to buy from him a Kawai GM-10, a Schimmel upright, and a Kawaii K-500 recently. So I will decline naming him, as I don't want to get him into trouble with Kawai if the keyboard needs setup at the dealer, and he didn't have time to prep it up correctly yet.

Does the keyboard need additional setup at the dealer? Frankly, the uneven gaps between the keys were a turn-off.

Does the division that manufactures the NV10 works closely with the Kawai site that manufacture the nowadays GX series? Do the GX grand folks agree that the actions feel the same?

Yamaha Avant-Grand resembles their grand counterpart more. Even their NU-1 felt like an upright.

I really wanted to like the NV10, and got my wife's ok to buy. I even planned to buy the Bose F1's to supplement for the sound, as I heard some reviewers not happy with enclosed speakers.

So now, N3X seems to be the favorite, but I don't have the room. And N2 and N1 have been out for too long, that I don't want to buy them to find out they will come out with the N2X or N1X next year.

Back to waiting, and continuing to practicing on my old Yamaha Motif ES8 with headphones while my family is sleeping.

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One could perhaps ask the tentative question of all these top ranking digitals. Do they, any of them, with their expensive speaker systems etc actually sound significantly better than Pianoteq or other vst being played through something less refined . . . . .? Listening on Youtube I would think not.
You could buy a Harley or a Lambretta instead with the difference. Wife permitting . . . .and have a holiday or two in exotic places. . .


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Hello QXN, thank you for your reply.

Originally Posted by QXN
We have the RX-5H. I am still stumped about why the NV10 didn't feel as good as the other Kawai's grands I am familiar with.


Yes, that is a mystery also. The RH-5H action and NV10 action share the same action technology, so should feel very similar.

Originally Posted by QXN
As for the store name, the owner and I have had a good relationship. I traded my Young Chang in for my current 7-ft Schimmel, bought a Nordiska, later traded that in for the current RX-5H, and brought friends in to buy from him a Kawai GM-10, a Schimmel upright, and a Kawaii K-500 recently. So I will decline naming him, as I don't want to get him into trouble with Kawai if the keyboard needs setup at the dealer, and he didn't have time to prep it up correctly yet.


Okay, I can appreciate your desire to respect the dealer's anonymity.

Originally Posted by QXN
Does the keyboard need additional setup at the dealer? Frankly, the uneven gaps between the keys were a turn-off.


I don't believe additional preparation should be required, however if the dealer wishes to make some minor adjustments to the action regulation, they are obviously welcome to do so.

Originally Posted by QXN
Does the division that manufactures the NV10 works closely with the Kawai site that manufacture the nowadays GX series?


It is my understanding that the NV10 action is produced in the same facility as the GX action.

Originally Posted by QXN
Do the GX grand folks agree that the actions feel the same?


I'm afraid I don't know. Presumably the action assembly process is the same for the NV10 and GX - or should I say GX AnyTimeX models, which share the same optical hammer sensing system.

Originally Posted by QXN
Back to waiting, and continuing to practicing on my old Yamaha Motif ES8 with headphones while my family is sleeping.


May I suggest that you pass on your comments to the dealer and Kawai subsidiary (Kawai America?). I'm sure all parties would gratefully appreciate your feedback.

Thanks again.

Kind regards,
James
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