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Help me choose a digital piano!! Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland

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  • Help me choose a digital piano!! Yamaha vs Kawai vs Roland

    I've been researching for a good $1000-1500 digital piano, and I've narrowed it down to ones from these 3 brands.

    More specifically, the following:

    Yamaha p-120 or p-155 (p-120 is discontinued so I'm not sure if it's worth buying used over the p-155, but from what I've read the p-120 is superior)

    Kawai ES6

    The Yamahas don't have much choice in terms of sounds compared to the Kawai, and overall the Kawai sounds the most realistic (referring to grand piano mainly). I haven't had a chance to test out feel/weighting yet, but I don't have the experience as a pianist to make a good decision on the subject either.

    Anyone have some experience with these that would help me choose?

    Appreciate any and all help!!

  • #2
    The P120 is better than the P155. It is probably the best of the P series. Nice piano and Rhodes sound. The number of sounds are somewhat limited, the other sounds are certainly good enough to use. You have to determine how many sounds you really need. You can usually get a used P120 at a fair price

    Roland FP-4 has a lighter action than the Yamaha P120. Action is a personal preference issue. You might be able to hear demos of the FP-4 on Roland's website.

    I don't know anything about the Kawii. Players that I know that own them like the sound and the action.

    What the "best" DP available has more opinions than politicians.

    Cheers,


    Mike T.
    Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Mk III, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro, lots of PA gear, Oberheim DMX, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, and more toys.

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    • #3
      For Roland FP-4, visit www.lot2learn.com
      Sound is quite good (to me).
      I like Roland more than Yamaha, just because Yamaha's piano voices sound "too pristine" for me. As Mike said, the one you "like" is the best one.
      Gears: I don't know why I have so many gears that I don't need

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      • #4
        It's all personal opinion and application. Yamahas tend to cut through the mix better so they tend to be the better choice for rock bands. Kawais tend to be little mellower and more realistic so they work better for solo and jazz piano work. Rolands fall somewhere in between.

        Personally I like the Kawai for the $1500 price range and I own the ES-4 (the model before the ES-6). I've used it successfully for many years and have no plans to replace it.

        I do not like the Roland FP's which I have often called "Franken-Pianos". Roland samples different keys from different pianos and stitches the samples together to create a piano that doesn't actually exist. If you walk up and down the keys the difference in sample tonality is very evident. Since Yamaha and Kawai actually do make acoustic pianos I think they have an advantage over Roland.

        To each his own.
        A wise man knows the difference between opera and barbeque...

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        • #5
          Does anyone know if you can record to the computer on the Kawai ES6? I read about the recorder in the manual, but I'm still not sure if you can transfer already recorded songs to the computer by usb, or if you have to somehow record it with audacity or another program while the piano and computer are connected, or if either of these is even possible.

          I've cut out the Roland FP-4 out of my decision also.

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          • #6
            You need to learn about MIDI, which is how the keyboard would record to the computer over USB and to itself. This is not audio that is recorded but control signals which play the keyboard in real time. You can record the piano audio from the piano's audio outputs into your computer soundcard using any of a variety of audio recording programs.
            A wise man knows the difference between opera and barbeque...

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            • #7
              The Pro is correct that the Yamaha DP are bright enough to cut through a band mix. The piano sounds can be edited to taste. I know that Jim (The Pro) has done restaurant work in years past as a solo so he has a lot of experience with DP in that context, certainly more than I will ever have. So I would take what he said at face value about the Kawai DP. I agree that Kawai and Yamaha have an advantage over Roland because they have been making acoustic pianos before there even were digital pianos.

              It still comes down to what you like and the action you are comfortable with. Add in how much you can afford and you pretty much have the criteria for buying a DP. It also helps to know who you are buying from. One of the reasons I usually go with Yamaha is they are easily serviced where I live. Parts are available if I need them, and there are several Yamaha dealers within short driving distance if I need something. My Motif ES8 is now 6 years old and has worked great, very reliable. I did manage to wear out a few of the buttons on the front panel from using them so much. It was an inexpensive repair, but when you keep instruments as long as I do, its a factor to consider.


              Mike T.
              Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Mk III, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro, lots of PA gear, Oberheim DMX, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, and more toys.

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              • #8
                Bought the Yamaha P-155! I was going to go with the Kawai ES6, but it was $1700 and I couldn't justify spending so much over the Yamaha.

                Thanks for all the help!

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                • #9

                  The new Yamaha P-200 Electronic Piano gives you the best of all musical worlds.
                  It features brilliant, authentic instrument voices in a full-scale 88-key weighted action keyboard.
                  The acoustic piano voices in particular are stunning - providing all the full-bodied resonance and sparkling tone of an actual grand piano.
                  Plus, the expanded 64-note polyphony ensures that you'll never run out of notes - even in the most densely played passages.
                  With its effects, assignable controllers, extensive MIDI functions, and one-touch Performance settings, the P-200 also allows you to take full, expressive control over your music.
                  Whether you're practicing at home, recording in the studio, or performing on stage, the P-200 has all you need to sound your absolute best!

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