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Hi everyone,

A few comments on my experience while testing some models hands-on in case it helps anyone out there, I'm sticking to actions so I'll not get into sounds and other features.

Quick background, I'm a trained pianist and I do play all sort of piano styles (not classical only), played few accoustic in the last couple of decades and own a CA97 (GF2 action), also I'm familiar with all piano VST currently in the market. Finally and not least, I've seen and watched all (and I mean ALL) videos and reviews about most relevant models in the last few years.

I yesterday went to a piano store where I've been testing few models searching for a candidate to replace my CA97 (moving to another country in sight and I want to go as light as possible), it has to be a "portable", not that I'm gigging or anything.

Tried the PHA50 (on an LX704, they didn't have the FP90x) and then tried the PHA4 (FP30x), to my surprise I liked better the latter despite all the "negative" comments when compared to the higher-end PHA50. Tried repetitions, chopin trills, fast passages, piannissimos.. cannot compare to an accoustic in either case but I liked better the PHA4 and this is not the first time I make this comparison hands-on as I tried in other few stores here and there while traveling to different cities.

I was trying to understand what some people mean when they used terms like sluggish, heavy and other words to describe this action but I honestly found it more playable than the PHA50, I know this all is subjective and I might be technically wrong but I'm sticking to my personal feel and conclusions.

I tried the P515, marvellous simply fantastic, the touch is incredibely pleasent and I know many would say "heavy", well I love the GF2 touch which is regarded as "faster" or "lighter" as much as I loved this "heavy" action (NWX), I could express at all levels anything I wanted, transitions were smooth and I didn't feel that heaviness but again I know this is very subjective.

What I didn't like though was those 2 speakers placed on both right and left side of the piano, it looked so outdated although I liked the cleaniliness/simplicity that the whole package trasmitted, still I'd have preferred a FP90-like design (a whole speaker bar ever there're 2 speakers only underneath it).

Also tried (once again) the PSX1100 to confirm what I already knew, I liked and I still like its action, funny I know but it's true. I'm aware of all the comments about the flaw action etc and I tried it in several way but could't find the error, played the keys towards the fallboard and it still played perfectly, not that there wasn't a difference between key tip and the end of it but wan't either that you couldn't play and perfectly express no matter what chords I was playing. Yet more, I found this keyboard more playable than both PHA50 and PHA4, they key dynamics where closer to natural than any of the Roland's

I've seen so many good pianists performing on PHA50 that I thought must be simply perfection, it's the CHOICE on paper but this is again why it's so important to try yourselves and I'm still not ruling out the possibility of being wrong cause I feel like I'm talking opposite to the vast majority so that alone is a reason to doubt about my feelings, but hey as said before these are my conclusions in case they help or match anyone's else.

I also tried a Nord Piano 4 (I guess it was provided with some sort of Kawai action), sounds were phenomenal but action was just OK, nothing that I'd pay €4000 for.

Additionally I played the GP310 (once again) and same conclusion like some months ago, couldn't like the whole experience, it wasn't on my list but I'm including it here too. Action was nice, yet not worth the price I'd say. Also, it's a bit particular, you have to ltry it before buying, it's no heavy and neither is it light (for me), played better actions..

To sum up, my serious pick would be the P515 and maybe the PSX1100 if I was tight in budget. I was expecting totally different results based on what you see and read, but these are my favourites after trying them in several occasions during the last months.

I have to say that I also like the GF action, it plays fantastic and I'd pick it over and over if it wasn't because of the known slip tape issue, that alone would prevent me from taking up an MP11se, a revised version of it would make a perfect competitor to the P515 (on my list).


Warm regards,
David


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EDIT

Turns our that the played LX model was an LX702 (PHA4) and not an LX704 (PHA50) as originally mentioned.

That would explain my false disappointment with the PHA50 which I liked months ago when I played it on a LX705 I guess, it felt light and very very playable unlike the one played yesterday (LX702).

I'd then say that I played the PHA4 twice in different instruments and it felt differently although it was the same action (presumably)... I liked it more on the FP30x

Sorry for the confusion.

David


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Originally Posted by David Izquierdo
Hi everyone,

A few comments on my experience while testing some models hands-on in case it helps anyone out there, I'm sticking to actions so I'll not get into sounds and other features.

Quick background, I'm a trained pianist and I do play all sort of piano styles (not classical only), played few accoustic in the last couple of decades and own a CA97 (GF2 action), also I'm familiar with all piano VST currently in the market. Finally and not least, I've seen and watched all (and I mean ALL) videos and reviews about most relevant models in the last few years.

I yesterday went to a piano store where I've been testing few models searching for a candidate to replace my CA97 (moving to another country in sight and I want to go as light as possible), it has to be a "portable", not that I'm gigging or anything.

Tried the PHA50 (on an LX704, they didn't have the FP90x) and then tried the PHA4 (FP30x), to my surprise I liked better the latter despite all the "negative" comments when compared to the higher-end PHA50. Tried repetitions, chopin trills, fast passages, piannissimos.. cannot compare to an accoustic in either case but I liked better the PHA4 and this is not the first time I make this comparison hands-on as I tried in other few stores here and there while traveling to different cities.

I was trying to understand what some people mean when they used terms like sluggish, heavy and other words to describe this action but I honestly found it more playable than the PHA50, I know this all is subjective and I might be technically wrong but I'm sticking to my personal feel and conclusions.

I tried the P515, marvellous simply fantastic, the touch is incredibely pleasent and I know many would say "heavy", well I love the GF2 touch which is regarded as "faster" or "lighter" as much as I loved this "heavy" action (NWX), I could express at all levels anything I wanted, transitions were smooth and I didn't feel that heaviness but again I know this is very subjective.

What I didn't like though was those 2 speakers placed on both right and left side of the piano, it looked so outdated although I liked the cleaniliness/simplicity that the whole package trasmitted, still I'd have preferred a FP90-like design (a whole speaker bar ever there're 2 speakers only underneath it).

Also tried (once again) the PSX1100 to confirm what I already knew, I liked and I still like its action, funny I know but it's true. I'm aware of all the comments about the flaw action etc and I tried it in several way but could't find the error, played the keys towards the fallboard and it still played perfectly, not that there wasn't a difference between key tip and the end of it but wan't either that you couldn't play and perfectly express no matter what chords I was playing. Yet more, I found this keyboard more playable than both PHA50 and PHA4, they key dynamics where closer to natural than any of the Roland's

I've seen so many good pianists performing on PHA50 that I thought must be simply perfection, it's the CHOICE on paper but this is again why it's so important to try yourselves and I'm still not ruling out the possibility of being wrong cause I feel like I'm talking opposite to the vast majority so that alone is a reason to doubt about my feelings, but hey as said before these are my conclusions in case they help or match anyone's else.

I also tried a Nord Piano 4 (I guess it was provided with some sort of Kawai action), sounds were phenomenal but action was just OK, nothing that I'd pay €4000 for.

Additionally I played the GP310 (once again) and same conclusion like some months ago, couldn't like the whole experience, it wasn't on my list but I'm including it here too. Action was nice, yet not worth the price I'd say. Also, it's a bit particular, you have to ltry it before buying, it's no heavy and neither is it light (for me), played better actions..

To sum up, my serious pick would be the P515 and maybe the PSX1100 if I was tight in budget. I was expecting totally different results based on what you see and read, but these are my favourites after trying them in several occasions during the last months.

I have to say that I also like the GF action, it plays fantastic and I'd pick it over and over if it wasn't because of the known slip tape issue, that alone would prevent me from taking up an MP11se, a revised version of it would make a perfect competitor to the P515 (on my list).


Warm regards,
David

The PHA50 is around the same downweight as the Grand Feel, so that explains why Roland updated the PHAIV. I have to say, testing the RD800 against the CP4, the PHAIV felt nicer to play piano on, but slower for repeating fast notes---NW-GH has a crazy fast key return. Also, I think playing organ and synth is easier on the PHA50 over the PHAIV due to the downweight being lower.

Others have noted: the PHA50's main flaw is in long practice---it is more fatiguing after 6 hours playing.

That said, the Grand Feel 3 would offer similar performance without the issues to your current model---with much nicer sound and amplification eg CA99.

On the other hand, if you want an upgrade, well:

Kawai Novus NV5S
Yamaha Avant Grand N1X
Kawai Novus NV10S
Yamaha NUX1


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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Originally Posted by David Izquierdo
I tried the P515, marvellous simply fantastic, the touch is incredibely pleasent and I know many would say "heavy", well I love the GF2 touch which is regarded as "faster" or "lighter" as much as I loved this "heavy" action (NWX), I could express at all levels anything I wanted, transitions were smooth and I didn't feel that heaviness but again I know this is very subjective.
This!


And to avoid my “This” to be taken out of context (as jest) I will further elaborate:

It’s the effing price!


You are simply getting the most bang for your hard-earned buck, and just for some perspective, the FP-90X costs around $850 more, yet the P-515 beats it in every area; yes, the P-515 is phenomenal and nothing short of that.

About the speakers, there’s only two tiny speakers, but Yamaha has done something with the ‘sound-imaging’ that is nothing short of magic.

I’m also blown away by ‘note-off’, and how effortlessly and realistically one can go from staccato to portamento to legato and back.

As if not enough, Yamaha has thrown in a sound-card for pristine playback of VSTs!

You can call me whatever you want, “fanboi,” but I simply call them as I see them; and as much as I love the P-515, I also hate the N2 and CVP.

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Thank you Doug for your input but I was comparing "portable" DP only, that's what I'm after.

I do believe that PHA50 feels very good, it's very playable, as much as I can remember from the last time I played the LX705.. but it felt a bit unnaturally light to me, which was very forgiving when playing fast passages, trills etc.

OTH I felt like the PHA4 has a more realistic feeling to me, it wasn't slow or sluggish as some would claim, but it's true that it didn't perform as good as the PHA50, at least not as playable if that makes sense.

Let's put it like this, I like the feeling of the PHA4 but I feel more confortable performing on the PHA50.

I haven't played the GF3 but I assume it's very close to the GF2 which I'm used to, I'd love to see that on a portable DP (an MP12 as I've read somewhere in the forum).

The NWX was very playable as well as expressive, to me it felt more piano alike than any of the Rolands.

Reagards,
David


Kawai CA97
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Originally Posted by David Izquierdo
Thank you Doug for your input but I was comparing "portable" DP only, that's what I'm after.

I do believe that PHA50 feels very good, it's very playable, as much as I can remember from the last time I played the LX705.. but it felt a bit unnaturally light to me, which was very forgiving when playing fast passages, trills etc.

OTH I felt like the PHA4 has a more realistic feeling to me, it wasn't slow or sluggish as some would claim, but it's true that it didn't perform as good as the PHA50, at least not as playable if that makes sense.

Let's put it like this, I like the feeling of the PHA4 but I feel more confortable performing on the PHA50.

I haven't played the GF3 but I assume it's very close to the GF2 which I'm used to, I'd love to see that on a portable DP (an MP12 as I've read somewhere in the forum).

The NWX was very playable as well as expressive, to me it felt more piano alike than any of the Rolands.

Reagards,
David

Roland have a few issues:
1) They provide crap headphone amps and the speaker amplification is not competitive with Yamaha or Kawai.
2) Getting a satisfying sound means tweaking expensively.

I found no relative gratification when comparing the CLP685 to the LX708: the Yamaha had much greater sound clarity and wider dynamic range. Something about the newer Roland modelling gives it a compressed sound that lacks umph.

Bruce from Phily---who is very experienced with the Roland---claims he can get a good sound using an external headphone amp, hifi for speakers and significant tweaking.

With the Stage pianos, I'd definitely compare the following:

Nord Grand (Kawai RHIII action)
Kawai MP11SE, Kawai MP7SE

For portable,:
Kawai ES920
Yamaha P515
Roland FP90X

Piano controller:
Kawai VPC1

These are all pretty exemplary for piano.

For the PHAIV action, the RD800 is still very nice.

If you try the Nord Grand, try not to fall in love with it, unless you have fairly deep pockets.

Last edited by Doug M.; 04/19/22 10:06 AM.

Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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the problem for kawai is their pricing. I mean I get it, Mr. Kawai needs a yacht like all the other billionaires, but is raising the prices really the way to do it if it causes a loss in market share ? even before the current price hike, I thought (relative) to roland and yamaha the price was pretty steep. now, it's like if I imagine I was at the beginning of the piano journey, without knowing deeply about touch/feel/ergonomics etc, I don't think I'd take 1 look at the kawais at the price. The kawai slabs just aren't very pretty on the outside and their hidden prowess the light touch and good keybed vibration is not obvious to new buyers at all.

I'd really hesitate to recommend a kawai at their current pricing even though for myself personally, I could never be happy with any other keybed.

we're in the free-mium phase of capitalism. I've been reading that pearl river was suppose to make a huge push in the digitals market right before the pandemic hit and it was canceled. when that happens, and it will, them being THE largest piano company in the whole world, all of these prices will have a big shakeup.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
the problem for kawai is their pricing. I mean I get it, Mr. Kawai needs a yacht like all the other billionaires, but is raising the prices really the way to do it if it causes a loss in market share ? even before the current price hike, I thought (relative) to roland and yamaha the price was pretty steep. now, it's like if I imagine I was at the beginning of the piano journey, without knowing deeply about touch/feel/ergonomics etc, I don't think I'd take 1 look at the kawais at the price. The kawai slabs just aren't very pretty on the outside and their hidden prowess the light touch and good keybed vibration is not obvious to new buyers at all.

I'd really hesitate to recommend a kawai at their current pricing even though for myself personally, I could never be happy with any other keybed.

we're in the free-mium phase of capitalism. I've been reading that pearl river was suppose to make a huge push in the digitals market right before the pandemic hit and it was canceled. when that happens, and it will, them being THE largest piano company in the whole world, all of these prices will have a big shakeup.

Well, it's a bit mean to focus on one manufacturer (as prices for digitals are getting higher for all manufacturers). Also, I think we're seeing price rises across all products in nearly every sector of every business. Food prices are sky high, especially bread. Petrol is extortionate. Inflation is 15-20%. The cost of transporting goods has also gotten much higher.
That's the consequence of climate policy (everybody buy electric cars so there are no microchips for other things), health policy (let's keep everyone safe) and starting a cold war with Russia.

All we can do is focus on value --- what does a digital piano give us compared to it's competition --- and need ---what value we really require for our purposes---so ensuring that we don't spend on things that aren't strictly necessary.

I'm sure that with demand still high and supply very low for all manufacturers (except Casio), we'll see both official and unofficial price rises in most markets. Even the used sector is boyant because everyone wants a better deal, so more demand exists there now.

I don't think complaining about reality is going to help.

Last edited by Doug M.; 04/19/22 10:53 AM.

Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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I'm not complaining about reality. I happily paid for the es520, I want kawai to survive, but I don't think they've made a good business decision. the market is shrinking even if temporarily there is a demand increase and supply decrease. Kawai should move to aggressively go after market share and mindshare.

Last edited by KawaFanboi; 04/19/22 11:56 AM.
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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
I'm not complaining about reality. I happily paid for the es520, I want kawai to survive, but I don't think they've made a good business decision. the market is shrinking even if temporarily there is a demand and supply uptick. Kawai should move to aggressively go after market share.

Well, Yamaha have motorbikes, weapons etc to sell, not just musical instruments. Kawai (and others) are not able to manufacture digital units due to microchip supply issues, but Kawai probaby have less business to keep them going (as acoustic piano sales aren't exactly thriving).
Hence, it makes sense that they cut production to save costs and increase instrument price to maximise revenue during the manufacturing down-time.


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
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On the Wikipedia page about Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

The company was established in 1955 upon separation from Yamaha Corporation (however, Yamaha Corporation is still the largest private company shareholder with 9.92%, as of 2019)

Then Yamaha Corporation doesn’t make motorbikes anymore…

Last edited by Frédéric L; 04/19/22 12:17 PM.

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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
On the Wikipedia page about Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.

The company was established in 1955 upon separation from Yamaha Corporation (however, Yamaha Corporation is still the largest private company shareholder with 9.92%, as of 2019)

Then Yamaha Corporation doesn’t make motorbikes anymore…

Oh that's interesting: didn't see that news when it happened lol.


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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Pianoworld members should have stressed this news at the time. wink


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http://humeur-synthe.sinerj.org/
Yamaha N1X, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
Pianoworld members should have stressed this news at the time. wink

😁


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
the problem for kawai is their pricing. I mean I get it, Mr. Kawai needs a yacht like all the other billionaires, but is raising the prices really the way to do it if it causes a loss in market share ? [...]

I'd really hesitate to recommend a kawai at their current pricing even though for myself personally, I could never be happy with any other keybed.

.

in Australia

es920 about $1,900

p515 about $2,000

fp90x about $2,900


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