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Estonia Pianos
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RosyZH Offline OP
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Havingbeen playing on and off for many years and have always wanted to put more time and effort into developing my skills, last week I have finally pulled the trigger on a Kawai ES520, hoping for it to supplement my Estonia L190, allowing me to practice when the kid is asleep.
It has been a week and currently I’m not certain this is the right instrument for me to move forward with. Here are some of my thoughts:

Action: this is the absolute priority for me since the main purpose is to be able to practice effectively and transfer my skill back to the acoustic with ease. Personally the RHCii action feels a bit odd. It is responsive and bounce back pretty fast but the resistance I experience as the keys travel down is very unfamiliar to me. A very very rough diagram to show the comparison between my Estonia and the ES520 in the link. [img]https://ibb.co/p301Yd4[/img] In short the continuous resistance as the key travel down makes the ES520 feels a tad heavy and stiff. But when I go back to my Estonia I notice the initial resistance a lot more due to the ES520 having low initial resistance relatively.

Sound: I really liked the sound of Kawai in all the Video reviews I have found. But in person it took some finessing to achieve a sound that I am somewhat happy with at the moment. At first I found the bass too muddled and while trying to adjust for that the treble became too pingy. I am aware of the limitation of headphones, and like I said the action outweighs the sounds to me.

So now I am contemplating possibly purchasing the P515 as the action described in a p515 vs es8 comparison video matches exactly my experience and I think(hope) the NWX’s initial key resistance and low dynamic weight will be closer to my experience with my Estonia.

What do you think? Thoughts , comments and advices much appreciated!!!

Last edited by RosyZH; 11/02/21 02:02 PM.
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Can you share the link to ES8 vs P515 video you're talking about? Thanks


[Kawai VPC1 / ES100 - VSTs: VSL 280VC, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Ravenscroft 275 & Pianoteq 7 - Ableton Live Lite - Presonus iOne/iTwo - Tascam US1x2/2x2- Sennheiser HD700/6xx - Presonus E5+T10, iloud micro monitors]
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RosyZH Offline OP
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Originally Posted by TonyDIGITAL
Can you share the link to ES8 vs P515 video you're talking about? Thanks

He talks about the action comparison at the end

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But don't forget that the action on the es520 is considerably different from the action on tbe es8 (most people consider the es520 to be lighter in resistance, and the es520 does not have let off).

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RosyZH Offline OP
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Originally Posted by vagfilm
But don't forget that the action on the es520 is considerably different from the action on tbe es8 (most people consider the es520 to be lighter in resistance, and the es520 does not have let off).
I understand, that's the reason I also considered upgrading to the ES920 as well. But as you can see from the video link as posted the RH3 action (both in ES920 and ES8), also considering they are from the same manufacturer, they are likely to share the same characteristic, having a more continuous resistance as the key is pressed down.
And honestly, I am not sure how much the let-off sensation contributes to the experience, at my level at least. I don't notice it while playing on my Estonia. From what I have seen the P515 let-off sensation is pretty negligible anyway. Overall it is the difference in initial resistance that I notice the most.

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I'd suggest to try the alternatives in person.

For players used to acoustic pianos this is the only real chance to see if a DP action is suitable (or acceptable) for you. Try the Yamaha P 515, try (if possible) a wooden Kawai action and/or the ES 920, try, if you wish, a Roland FP 30(-80). But try them yourself...

Good luck!


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RosyZH Offline OP
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Originally Posted by maurus
I'd suggest to try the alternatives in person.

For players used to acoustic pianos this is the only real chance to see if a DP action is suitable (or acceptable) for you. Try the Yamaha P 515, try (if possible) a wooden Kawai action and/or the ES 920, try, if you wish, a Roland FP 30(-80). But try them yourself...

Good luck!


That would absolutely be ideal! Unfortunately, I haven't had too much luck finding DP in the range on display. I'll keep looking though.
Meanwhile, I might actually buy the P515 and compare side by side with the ES520 before deciding to return one of both...

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Hello,

@RosyZH, I'd like to offer these few thoughts:

-> The guy in this comparison video should generally be taken with many a grain of salt, even though sometimes he has some useful observations. Carefully judge that input yourself.
-> Actions in particular can only be judged and chosen by trying them out in person, that is just absolutely essential -- as you have already experienced this past week.
-> I would not rule out Kawai's RHIII action until you have tried it yourself.
-> Rolands like the FP-10/30X/60X/90X have actions with more resistance that you might like (or not), on the other hand I seriously doubt you'd find their sound acceptable.
-> Maybe try the Kawai MP7SE, MP11SE as well.
-> Budget allowing, you might even want to look at the Casio GP310.

Cheers and happy comparisons,

HZ

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If you can return one, then by all means compare. You'll know the best way to do this. For me it'd be to judt sit down and play something tricky. That light keyboard is also to be found in my recently acquired ES110. I got rid of the 515 to do so, and , for one, i appreciate greatly the light, lively touch of the ES.
But we're all different!


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Based on the comments, P-515 is heavier than RH-III in ES-920.

At this stage, I'd say do not buy a keyboard without playing it as you may find P-515 heavy(ier).


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RosyZH Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Abdol
Based on the comments, P-515 is heavier than RH-III in ES-920.

At this stage, I'd say do not buy a keyboard without playing it as you may find P-515 heavy(ier).

I think "light" or "heavy" really isn't enough to describe a key action though. What I was trying to get at in the main post is that, during playing on es520, I feel the key pushing back at my fingers more (which may be a good thing just need to get used to), which might be described as "heavy". But when I transition back to my acoustic, I find my acoustic feeling heavier because it takes more to get through the initial resistance.

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RosyZH, I post on the PW Piano forum as well, since I own a grand and a digital. Here is some well-meant advice:

You own a superb grand piano, the Estonia L190. No digital piano is going to be anywhere near its touch, especially a sub-$1000 instrument. The closest you could get is with the upper end of Kawai's CA line or Yamaha's CLP line ($4,000+), short of moving to a hybrid with a grand action ($8,000+).

In your position, I would test play the Kawai ES920, Roland FP90X and Yamaha P-515, choose one of them, and live with its shortcomings. They represent good value in the digital piano space, with decent touch and tone at around $1,500. But nothing like the grand piano you own.
All the best!
Lotus
__________________________________________
Working on: Mozart / Sonata in D, K. 284, "Durnitz"
Pianos: Kawai GM-10 grand, Yamaha DGX-660 digital

P. S. I second HZPiano's thoughts on the guy in the comparison video.

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Hello RosyZH,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Here are some comments:

Originally Posted by RosyZH
Action: this is the absolute priority for me since the main purpose is to be able to practice effectively and transfer my skill back to the acoustic with ease. Personally the RHCii action feels a bit odd. It is responsive and bounce back pretty fast but the resistance I experience as the keys travel down is very unfamiliar to me. A very very rough diagram to show the comparison between my Estonia and the ES520 in the link. [img]https://ibb.co/p301Yd4[/img] In short the continuous resistance as the key travel down makes the ES520 feels a tad heavy and stiff. But when I go back to my Estonia I notice the initial resistance a lot more due to the ES520 having low initial resistance relatively.

The ES520's keyboard action does not feature let-off simulation, so you will not feel the "bump" (as shown in your diagram) when playing gently. However, as you note, this sensation will be less noticeable when playing louder passages. I think it's also important to be realistic when comparing a ~$1000 digital piano with a much more expensive acoustic grand.

Originally Posted by RosyZH
Sound: I really liked the sound of Kawai in all the Video reviews I have found. But in person it took some finessing to achieve a sound that I am somewhat happy with at the moment. At first I found the bass too muddled and while trying to adjust for that the treble became too pingy. I am aware of the limitation of headphones, and like I said the action outweighs the sounds to me.

Through headphones, the ES520 in person should sound the same as most of the video reviews found online (depending on how the videos were recorded). If you have not done so already, I would suggest experimenting with the "Spatial Headphone Sound" (SHS) setting, which can have a strong effect on how one perceives the position and character of the sound heard through headphones.

Originally Posted by RosyZH
So now I am contemplating possibly purchasing the P515 as the action described in a p515 vs es8 comparison video matches exactly my experience and I think(hope) the NWX’s initial key resistance and low dynamic weight will be closer to my experience with my Estonia.

If you are willing to increase your budget to the $1,500~$1,600 price range in order to purchase the P-515, I believe it's also worth considering Kawai's step-up model the ES920, along with similarly priced offerings from Roland.

Best of luck!

Kind regards,
James
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One important thing about the feeling of a DP action is the volume you set up on the unit. If is is too low, you may find the action weird. So be sure the volume is high enough to hear a ppp (the quieter note you can generate) and be somewhat too loud at fff, as if you were playing your acoustic. As a rule of thumb, put volume close to maximum and reduce it a tad if too high.

OTOH, the only action I have played which resembles somewhat an acoustic and is useful for me to practice and them translate it to my Yamaha U3H upright is the Kawai VPC1 (I have not played any hybrid, so take this just as my experience)

Good luck in your search!

Jose


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Thank you, everybody! Going to drop off kiddo at grandparents' this weekend to hit more stores I can find around me. Hope to have better luck trying out these instruments that were mentioned!

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Originally Posted by EB5AGV
One important thing about the feeling of a DP action is the volume you set up on the unit. If is is too low, you may find the action weird. So be sure the volume is high enough to hear a ppp (the quieter note you can generate) and be somewhat too loud at fff, as if you were playing your acoustic. As a rule of thumb, put volume close to maximum and reduce it a tad if too high.

That is a very good point!

I'm generally quite self-conscious about my playing so I tend to play at a lower volume. As I was gradually getting more comfortable since no one can hear me play/stumble through passages I do notice the action feeling a bit crispier!

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Originally Posted by RosyZH
Sound: I really liked the sound of Kawai in all the Video reviews I have found. But in person it took some finessing to achieve a sound that I am somewhat happy with at the moment. At first I found the bass too muddled and while trying to adjust for that the treble became too pingy. I am aware of the limitation of headphones, and like I said the action outweighs the sounds to me.

Both my Kawai keyboards (ES110 and ES8) sound superb via headphone so I am a bit surprised to read this. Perhaps try a more "robust" pair of headphones to solve this.


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I'm a former ballet pianist and presently a Kawai ES 110 user. (Previously, Roland FP4, FP50 and Kawai ES 110, ES 8). I bought an ES 520 a couple of days ago. Hated it Returning it today and will try a Kawai CA 49 when I have the chance, though I'm tempted to buy another ES 110 because I love the action so much. Pity about the not quite so realistic piano sounds. My ES 8 had gorgeous sounds, but the action really made my wrists and fingers hurt. That's why I won't consider buying an ES 920. I used Sennheiser PX 100 ii headphones with my ES 8 and ES 110 (because they are so comfy for long periods) and was very happy with the sound. The headphone sound on the ES 520, however, lacks clarity and I didn't much like the sound of the built-in speakers of the ES 520 either, in spite of their high output and Onkyo badge.

Last edited by namouna; 11/04/21 08:55 PM.
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Hello namouna,

Welcome to the forum.

It's interesting to read your thoughts on the ES110 vs the ES520.

May I ask, what is it about the ES110 action that you like so much, yet (presumably?) dislike about the ES520?
On paper, the two actions (RHC and RHCII) should feel the same, as the only difference is the number of sensors (2-sensor on ES110, 3-sensor on ES520).

Kind regards,
James
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hello namouna,

Welcome to the forum.

It's interesting to read your thoughts on the ES110 vs the ES520.

May I ask, what is it about the ES110 action that you like so much, yet (presumably?) dislike about the ES520?
On paper, the two actions (RHC and RHCII) should feel the same, as the only difference is the number of sensors (2-sensor on ES110, 3-sensor on ES520).

Kind regards,
James
x

thumb


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