Kawai VPC1, StudioLogic SL88 Grand or Korg D1?


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I have a small home studio and have been recording and producing for a few years and just now really getting into MIDI. I'm amazed at how good the sample plugins are now and want to do more MIDI recording.

I'm looking for a MIDI keyboard controller that has realistic weighted keys and feels as much like an acoustic upright or grand piano as possible. To me, the feel of the keyboard is most important and bells and I'm not interested in a lot of bells and whistles or build-in sounds. MIDI out is a requirement since I'll be using it exclusively for recording.

Base on my initial research and budget, I've narrowed down the list to the following three in no particular order:
1. Kawai VPC1
2. StudioLogic SL88 Grand
3. Korg D1

Any recommendations? I haven't seen any comparisons with any of the above and hardly any information/reviews on the Korg D1 with respect to keypad quality. Thanks in advance!
 

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A year ago I started a search for a lowish cost digital piano.

In order of keyboard feel my own preferences were:-

Roland FP30
Yamaha P125
Casio S1000
Korg D1

If you take my advice drop any interest you may have in the Korg.

The Casio S range has received quite a few adverse reviews on its action but even so I did find it more responsive and expressive with an action more like a DP of twice the price. Hence this was for me it has a superior keybed to what is in the Korg, btw I am a great lover of Korg keyboards sadly its just some of their keybeds are just not up to scratch.

Do check what keybed is in the Kawai, if it is the same as is in an ES110 then do ensure that if you buy the VP that you have a 30 day return window for a full cash refund. The reason I suggest this is the ES110 that I tried was at the top of my buying preference until I played it, it had very clunky, very noisy key action which from comments made on another forum indicate that the one I tried was a faulty unit.

Good luck
 
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For a MIDI controller, you cannot get a better keybed than the VPC1...
 
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Thanks for the helpful replies! Any experience with the StudioLogic SL88 Grand?
The reviews I've read say the keybed is really great.
As I said in my OP, for me it's all about the feel of the keyboard. As long as it can send MIDI out, that's all the features I need.
So, I'm looking for the most realistic replication of an actual acoustic grand piano in this price range.
I did fine a used Kwawi VPC1 for $1200 at a piano store. Should I grab it?
 
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At a $1200 budget you may want to also check out a Roland RD88 stage piano which would imo give you the best of all options and is only $1300.
 
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A year ago I started a search for a lowish cost digital piano.

In order of keyboard feel my own preferences were:-

Roland FP30
Yamaha P125
Casio S1000
Korg D1

If you take my advice drop any interest you may have in the Korg.

The Casio S range has received quite a few adverse reviews on its action but even so I did find it more responsive and expressive with an action more like a DP of twice the price. Hence this was for me it has a superior keybed to what is in the Korg, btw I am a great lover of Korg keyboards sadly its just some of their keybeds are just not up to scratch.

Do check what keybed is in the Kawai, if it is the same as is in an ES110 then do ensure that if you buy the VP that you have a 30 day return window for a full cash refund. The reason I suggest this is the ES110 that I tried was at the top of my buying preference until I played it, it had very clunky, very noisy key action which from comments made on another forum indicate that the one I tried was a faulty unit.

Good luck
"If you take my advice drop any interest you may have in the Korg."
May I ask why? This was top of my list. :)
 
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"If you take my advice drop any interest you may have in the Korg."
May I ask why? This was top of my list. :)

Of the keyboards I tried before buying a Yamaha P series imo opinion the best feel of any keyben was.......

The Roland FP30

Next best is the Yamaha P series

Then the third best was the Casio S series

Worst keybed of all was the D1, it felt like cheap plastic, with no weight to the action and the rebound was slow, unlike the Roland which has ivory feel keys, and Escapement the Korg does not have these and hence is imo inferior to the Roland by quite a margin.

Yes the keybed is also used in other Korg's but that does not make it more like an acoustic piano.

The only way for you to know for sure is to get out there and play as many as you can.

BTW
There is a worst still Korg keybed and that is in the Korg B2N which is like trying to play a keyboard with sponges for keys.
 
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Of the keyboards I tried before buying a Yamaha P series imo opinion the best feel of any keyben was.......

The Roland FP30

Next best is the Yamaha P series

Then the third best was the Casio S series

Worst keybed of all was the D1, it felt like cheap plastic, with no weight to the action and the rebound was slow, unlike the Roland which has ivory feel keys, and Escapement the Korg does not have these and hence is imo inferior to the Roland by quite a margin.

Yes the keybed is also used in other Korg's but that does not make it more like an acoustic piano.

The only way for you to know for sure is to get out there and play as many as you can.

BTW
There is a worst still Korg keybed and that is in the Korg B2N which is like trying to play a keyboard with sponges for keys.
Thanks for your reply. Interesting. Your experience is contrary to many reviews I've read and youtube videos I've seen regarding the Korg D1. A professional whom I respect also tells me the D1 is the best piano-like keyboard in it's price range. Go figure. I agree it's best to try them, but unfortunately, I don't think I have any place in town that carries them and COVID is a deterrent as well from going into busy music stores. I was hoping I could get enough information from online reviews and forums but I'm finding there are so many options, and so many tastes that is becoming very difficult. :/ Thanks again for your input. I do appreciate it!
 

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Ask any ten blind people to describe an elephant by touch and you'll get ten different answers.

Sooner or later it's best to sum up all the contradictions and go with your gut.

Keyboard feel is at least 75% subjective.

Read the professional reviews on gearslutz and follow the 150 pages of chattering drivel that follows up every review.

You'll get your answers soon enough.

Gary ;)
 
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Gary is right on the button.

It is all subjective.

All the reviews I looked at list the Kawai ES110, Roland FP30 and Yamaha P125 as the best Digital Pianos with the Kawai and Roland having the best action.

Go with your gut and get the D1 if that is what it tells you.

Whatever you choose my advice is to buy from a retailer where you have a no quibble 30 day return for a full refund.

If it is what you seek then great, if it has limitations return it and move on to the next.

Do look at the previous thread by Kaneda on his trials and tribulations in finding the best keyboard for his requirements, he was a serial returner until his Kawai arrived.
 
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Do look at the previous thread by Kaneda on his trials and tribulations in finding the best keyboard for his requirements, he was a serial returner until his Kawai arrived.

The fact that I bought and subsequently returned so many keyboards is because I really wasn"t sure what I wanted. Being of an indecisive nature didn't help either.
My background, as my signature might reveal to some extent, is one of both popular music AND classical. I had owned synths and organ/arranger type thingies in the past but I also an acoustic piano.
I spent 4 years at music academy learning classical piano, which in the end, made me realize that piano was what I had missed the most after all those years.

I have ordered and returned several keyboards : a Roland FA-08, a Korg Kross 2 88, a Roland VR730, a Yamaha MX61, a Korg Krome EX 88, a Korg PA1000... Yes, I know, I know.
Turned out, I really didn't want a workstation or arranger anymore, I wanted to play the piano.
Which is where the MP11SE came in : I was in love with it immediately. The VPC1 doesn't have the same keybed as the MP11SE, and I've never played a VPC1, but from what I understand, the VPC1 also has full length wooden keysticks, which means that every other keybed, whether hybrid or fully plastic, can't hold a candle to a fully wooden keybed (for expressive piano playing, that is).
Personnally, out of all the plastic keybeds, I really like Korg's RH3, but you need to try it out for yourself. The keybed in the FA08 was also good for piano, and is very close to the current PHA4. They're good keybeds, but more for general playing, some piano, electric piano, some organ and synth. By the same token, a fully wooden keybed is no good for organ or synth.

You should try them out, if you can, all of them, Korg RH3, Roland PHA4, etc. And then try a VPC1 or MP11SE. They're dangerous keybeds, you know, because they will have you in their grasp, and you will regret that you ever had the nerve of touching an inferior keybed :p
 
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for me it's all about the feel of the keyboard. As long as it can send MIDI out, that's all the features I need.
So, I'm looking for the most realistic replication of an actual acoustic grand piano in this price range.
I did fine a used Kwawi VPC1 for $1200 at a piano store. Should I grab it?
That will probably meet your goal of the most realistic replication of an acoustic in your price range. Whether it's a replication of an acoustic that you like the feel of will be a more subjective determination, since acoustic actions vary a lot in feel as well.

At a $1200 budget you may want to also check out a Roland RD88 stage piano which would imo give you the best of all options and is only $1300.

If the only issue is how they feel, why get an RD-88 over an FP30 or even FP10 at around half the price or less? Same action as the RD88.

Overall, the Kawai VPC is a much higher end product. It's targeted at a different customer, at $1850 for just an action (no sounds), as opposed to the Roland FP10 which is a $500 action (even including sounds). That's not to say someone might not prefer the Roland, it's subjective... someone might simply not like the feel of the VPC even if they did indeed think it felt more like an acoustic. I can't tell anyone what they would like. But if the goal is realsitic feel, I'd be more optimistic about spending $1200 for a VPC than spending $500-$1300 on a Roland PHA-4 Standard model.
 

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