Kawai ES110 ?

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First, let me state that I've never played a digital piano/keyboard so I really don't know what to expect. Back in the mists of time I studied piano and passed the Grade 7 AMEB examinations (Australian Music Examination Board) - however, that was half a century ago. Since then I've played sporadically, depending on where I happened to be living and what I was doing. I have a Kawai Medium (?? - 5' 8", I believe) grand piano in Australia but I live in Italy now. I would like to start playing once again, but I don't want to spend more than €1,000 on whatever I choose to buy. I have looked at several different 'entry level' digital pianos/keyboards (I'm not sure what the difference is). Because I'm used to Kawai I thought that the (now discontinued) Kawai ES110 would be a good place to start. I have watched quite a few YouTube videos which show the comparison between, generally, the Kawai ES110 and Yamaha P125 and one other (I've forgotten which). All reviewers tend to stress that the Kawai is 'great value for money for entry level playing'. My main concern is whether or not the 'touch' of the keyboard is similar to the 'touch' of an acoustic piano. I should add that I'm not interested in playing anything other than classical piano so all the 'bells and whistles' are of no interest to me. I would be very grateful for feedback/information from anyone who is accustomed to playing both acoustic piano and who has also used the Kawai ES110
 
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I can only partly answer your questions.

I spent a lot of time a while back physically playing digital pianos in your price range and looking at reviews.

I live in the UK where Kawai are very rare but I found one shop with an ES and its bigger brother, alas the ES keybed was like a set of casternets ie very clacky and extremely noisy. Hopefully this was a one off as the bigger brother was superb in both keybed feel and sound but alas I do not know if it was an ES920 or an ES520 but at the time I only wanted to spend c£600 so bought a P121 (72 key version of a P125) which did the job.

Also consider a Roland FP 60 which would be c€1000 which to me was more like the acoustic keybed I remember from my youth and the piano we had at home.

Do try to physically play as many as you can before buying if you cannot then whatever it is that you buy do ensure that there is a good free returns policy from the retailer.
 
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Thank you so much for your prompt response. I'm sitting here at the moment reading lots of different posts about 'keybed noise' !!! I quickly googled the ES520 and ES920 - the former is about €1000 and the latter €1550 (online prices). Your comments make me feel that I really should try and locate a retailer where I could try the action myself. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere close to a physical music store where I could go and try before I buy. I checked the Kawai global site and it seems there's only one Kawai dealer in Milan (more than 500 kms from where I live) and the website for the dealer/representative seems to be permanently 'down'. Whatever keyboard I get I feel that I need to have a full 88 key keyboard because it's what I've always been used to. Correct me if I'm completely wrong, but it seems to me that the more advanced/expensive models seem to have more electronic wizardry - rather than a better/more acoustic feel to the keyboard. Thank you again for replying.
 
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Correct me if I'm completely wrong, but it seems to me that the more advanced/expensive models seem to have more electronic wizardry - rather than a better/more acoustic feel to the keyboard.
There's no hard and fast rule. You can get models with the same kind of action where the more expensive model just gives you a lot more wizardry... for example the Roland FP-30X and Fantom-08 have enormously different capabilities, but share the same action ("PHA-4 Standard Keyboard with Escapement and Ivory Feel"). But there are also times where the more expensive model give you a better action and less wizardry! For example, overall, the Kawai MP7SE has more non-piano functionalities than the more expensive MP11SE, but the MP11SE has better piano action than the MP7SE. A Yamaha P515 has a better action than the more expensive MODX8 or the less expensive P125. Basically, you can find example of probably any conceivable combination of paying for better action, or for more wizardry, or both, as well as paying more for stepping down in one of these areas.

Nothing in your price range will be among the digitals that feel most like the real thing (those are the "hybrid" models that actually use versions of acoustic piano actions), but that doesn't make them bad. It's also hard to seay what feels most like a real piano because real pianos can vary quite a bit. If you're used to play a real piano with a lighter action, or one with a heavier action, then from that perspective alone, you may feel one digital or another is closer to the real thing.

So to get back to the crux of your question, where you say, "My main concern is whether or not the 'touch' of the keyboard is similar to the 'touch' of an acoustic piano" --- Any hammer action board, broadly speaking, is similar to the touch of an acoustic piano, but some are closer than others, but it's hard to even give a universal suggestion as to which are closer, because it depends on which aspect of the touch you are focussing on (e.g. do you care whether it simulates escapement?) and which real piano you are used to and comparing it to (e.g. a light feeling one or a heavier feeling one).

In your price range, besides Yamaha, Kawai, and Roland which have been mentioned, some people like the Korg D1 (the least expensive Korg with their best action), and the Casios have their fans as well. There's also the Studiologic SL88 Grand which has one of the best Fatar actions, but it has no sounds... you would get the sound by connecting it to a VST running on your computer, or a piano app running on an iPad, etc.
 
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Seeing Scott brought it up.

DP actions listed in order in the order I found them best to worst in the up to £600 range:-
Roland FP30
Yamaha P125
Casio S1000
Korg D1
Korg B2
Korg B2N

Kawsi es100?

Best Piano sound:-

No contest, Yamaha P125.

I am not a fan of Yamaha kit (probably stems from my dislike of their Motorcycles) but they do have great acoustic piano sounds imo.

If you do not want a VST system as per Scott’s suggestion then Studiologic have a digital piano which they produce called Numa X Piano which is available in two keybed actions, add them to your check out list.
 

happyrat1

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I think if the buyer is a stickler for REAL acoustic feel then he should up his budget and look seriously only at keyboards with real wooden keybeds.

From the sound of it I doubt he'd be happy with any plastic keybed.

I know the top end Kawaii meets that qualification and I had a chance to play an MP7SE once and had to say it compares favorably and beyond any other plastic model I've tried in my life.

Great action but it's the MP11SE that has real wood keybed.

Have not had a chance to play one of those yet.

Also Casio sells a Celviano with wooden keys as well.

Whatever the case, the buyer is responsible for doing his own homework as well as trusting an anonymous forum.

Gary ;)
 
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Thank you again Biggles, Anotherscott and Happyrat1 for your input. Of course, I'm aware that I must do my own homework, but I also consider that asking questions from others in a forum such as this where members are willing to share their own experience, can form part of that homework. I'm very grateful for the time and thought that have gone into your replies. The MP11SE sells for closer to €2,500 here and the MP-7SE for €1,400 (both from online retailers) - I really don't want to spend that sort of money, so perhaps I should accept that, for the price I'm prepared to pay, there will always be a trade off that I will have to live with. As to my not wanting a 'VST system' - I don't even know what that is unless I google 'VST system'. Basically, I want a keyboard that will allow me to recommence playing the piano (and, obviously, a set of headphones is also essential if I am to maintain any semblance of marital harmony in my household). I really don't want to connect the keyboard to my computer - I'm really looking for a break from my computer ..... Many thanks again, Tricia
 
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One further thing to point out is that most of the suggestions for Digital Pianos are ones which have an inbuilt amplifier and speakers where at some point you may think that the sound quality is lacking.

Onboard amp and speakers are generally a compromise in terms of output power and performance ie 7W in the case of the ES110 v 20W in the ES920 and the speaker size varies between the models.

A good pair of powered Monitor Speakers could improve the overall sound quality or even a pair of quality headphones would do the same.
 
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I was thinking a little while ago that I should have asked about recommendations for good quality headphones! I notice that the online vendor I was looking at (Gear4Music) also has an offer that includes an 'x' stand, metal stool and headphones, but when I checked out the individual items the headphones were their house brand and could be bought separately for around €13, so I decided that the quality might leave more than a little to be desired. However, I definitely will need to buy headphones and would be grateful for any suggestions as to what are good brands to check out. Do you know whether the headphones have a 3.5mm connection to the keyboard or is it another type of connection? Thanks once more for persevering with me on this.
 

happyrat1

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It doesn’t matter what connection the headphones use. An adapter plug will come with it or can be bought for a couple of bucks.

Good brands include Koss or Sennheiser.

Gary ;)
 

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