Saturday, March 19, 2011

REVIEW - Kawai MP10 Digital Piano - The BEST - For Piano Players Serious about their Music!

UPDATED REVIEW - KAWAI MP10 - May 1, 2014 - BEST IN ITS CLASS - UPDATE: The MP10 is now discontinued and not available at Kawai any longer. It has been replaced by the new MP11 so please go to my review of the new MP11 at the following link to learn more about it: Kawai MP11 Review.

You may read my original MP10 review here: Ever since the Kawai MP10 first came out back in 2010, I have been saying it is an amazing piano playing experience for those people who are looking for the great digital piano at a reasonably low price. The Kawai MP10 is definitely for discriminating buyers who can appreciate its higher quality key action, touch, and tone. I have played this model many times and agree with MP10 owners that nothing else comes close until you get to a much higher price range such as the Yamaha AvantGrand digital pianos which starts at three times the price. If you are looking for a jaw dropping grand piano playing experience in a digital piano and don't want to break the bank, then in my opinion you should look no further than the Kawai MP10 portable concert grand digital piano.

The Kawai MP10 ($2499US internet price) is an outstanding top of the line portable model from the Kawai piano company which can be played on stage, at home, church, school, studio, or wherever. Kawai is certainly one of the most respected piano companies in the world and their full size acoustic concert grand pianos, baby grands, uprights, and digital pianos are played by well known professionals as well as in universities, recording studios, and many other places where great music can be found. I have personally played Kawai acoustic grand pianos as have many of my musician friends and I know how good these instruments can be. So it came as no surprise to me that Kawai was able to develop and build this beautiful portable instrument that can be used to replace a fine acoustic grand piano for many people. I will say that if you have played grand pianos before and are experienced with them, then you know there is still a noticeable difference between digital and acoustic pianos since one goes through speakers (or headphones) and the other is completely organic with sound coming out of a large wooden piano & soundboard. But its low price, the MP10 does the best job in coming closest to the acoustic grand piano playing experience and one can be quite satisfied with the outcome.

The MP10 is a "portable" digital piano because it can be transported pretty easily (if necessary) although it does weigh 70lbs so it's heavy as potable digital pianos go. However that is considerably less weight than the Kawai CA93/CA95 furniture cabinet model version (with the same grand piano key action) which weigh in at 192lbs. So the portable MP10 is obviously far lighter than a furniture cabinet piano and therefore has a definite advantage in that way. The MP10 has no built-in speakers or stand like a traditional cabinet model, but all you need is great sounding small stereo powered speakers (which are low priced) along with a good stand and bench and then you will sound and play beautifully. I can also give you advice as to which specific accessories (incl speakers & stand) would be best for the MP10 and at the lowest prices. The MP10 also looks very attractive as compared to other portable pianos because of its mahogany wood sides and taller height and design which gives it a classy appearance.

So why should you consider a MP10? If you are a professional pianist, long time recreational piano player, and/or just someone who wants the best grand piano reproduction possible under $3000 in a digital piano, then I believe the MP10 will exceed your expectations. One of the main things that makes this piano unique is that Kawai has designed a special RM3 Grand "mechanical wooden Grand Piano key action" (left pic above - click on pic for larger view) which moves and responds very closely to that of the Kawai acoustic concert grand pianos. That is a very difficult thing to do but I believe the Kawai company has done an excellent job designing this new key action and has even included the subtle nuances (such as key let-off and zero minimum key action volume) that occur when playing a fine grand piano key action such as a Steinway or Yamaha. I would consider the touch resistance (the amount of force needed to push the key down to be a solid medium "feel" for excellent control over subtle piano tonal nuances.

The keytops are made of a proprietary synthetic material that reproduces the ivory key feel and look of the older acoustic grand pianos (before buying & selling elephant ivory was outlawed), which is very nice and it feels great. Other digital pianos also have their own synthetic material on the keys but I have seen and felt these other key tops and they are not at the same realism level to what Kawai has done on their piano keys. When it comes to replicating the grand piano tone, Kawai has also done an outstanding job with their sound technology source called Ultra Progressive Harmonic Imaging (fancy sounding name:) which includes a large 192-notes of polyphony and more realistic sound subtitles than any of their other pianos. You can feel and sense a more organic sound of a grand piano for resonance, overtones, sympathetic vibrations, and other subtle tone changes with key velocity increases and decreases.

The MP10 was originally designed as a professional "stage piano" (with XLR outputs and other useful pro features) but it's even more popular now in the home, church, or other traditional places because it is fairly intuitive to use and the functions are logically arranged and set up and many like the fact that this instrument doesn't take up a lot of room. In fact, I like it better than the cabinet model version not only because it costs far less money, but because it sounds better with more flexibility in editing and modifying the piano sounds and other instruments tones including multiple layering and splitting of tones.

You can even do a MP3 or wav file audio recording of your live playing and save it on a USB flash drive as well as overdub that recording with another track. You can also sing or play another instrument directly into the piano and record it along with your piano playing with separate volume control for the input setting (very nice). The MP10 can also be used as a piano "controller" so it which can be great for recording studios, stage work with off board gear, and just general playing flexibility. Although the MP10 only has 27 total sounds along with 100 very nice drum patterns (incl rock, jazz, Latin, country, and many others), the sounds themselves are the best possible instrument tones you can get anywhere in this price range. It kind of reminds me of a top racing car which doesn't have all the bells & whistles, but instead has an ultra responsive touch and movement like no other along with the most powerful engine in its class. That's what the Kawai MP10 is; a high performance digital piano which has the ability to take the musical "curves and corners" of your piano playing to new heights. 

If the MP10 sounds like what you're looking for and you don't mind being in the approx $2500 price range, then I highly recommend this piano. If you'd like to hear actual recordings of the MP10 in action, go to the following link which will bring you to the Kawai MP10 web site and then select the songs in the upper right corner:
http://www.kawaius.com/main_links/digital/PRO_2010/mp10_audio.html

Kawai also produces another model called the MP6 ($1349 internet price left pic) which is a lower priced stage piano. Although the MP6 is not quite as refined as the MP10 in grand piano touch (no wooden key action) & acoustic piano tone, it's more than enough piano in my opinion for many people, and it has features the MP10 does not have. It still has the ivory touch keys, a smooth piano touch (although slightly different) with escapement/let-off like a grand piano, 256 high quality instrument tones and 256 individual memory setups, and lots more including a  1 track USB MP3/wav file audio recorder and 16-track MIDI recorder. And it only weighs about 46lbs. If you want more info on the MP6, just do a search on that model number in this blog.

*Finally, I have a couple of songs (below) I recorded playing the MP10 which will give you a good idea of how it actually sounds.

If you want more info on these and other pianos and lower prices than internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.

*Check out a couple of songs below I composed and recorded on the Kawai MP10

1. Here's a little chord improv below I recorded live on the MP10 showing a combination "string bell synth pad" with a grand piano...just for fun. Although most people do want the MP10 for its great grand piano sounds and excellent wooden grand key action, a few of the other things you can do with this piano can make it even more enjoyable.

   Into the Galaxy - written and performed by Tim Praskins

2. This song is a soft ballad about what's most important in one's life. It's a grand piano with a touch of string symphony combined with an overdub of a female and male voices. 

   Every Time I think of You - written and performed by Tim Praskins
  
*Also, here's a video I found (below) of a Kawai MP10 live demo by a pianist in Europe (Kawai US doesn't have one yet). He is not speaking English but the video will allow you to see and hear this new MP10, and it is impressive. Also notice the wooden key action in the video.


25 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I know perhaps here isn't the correct place for my question, but I couldn't find a better one.

    "I looked for the info on the Internet and I'm a bit confused between Kawai ES6 and CN33. Which one do you recommend?"

    Thanks,

    Eduardo

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  2. Hi Eduardo,
    If you want more info on your question, please email me at my email address on this blog and I will be happy to answer your questions.
    Tim

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  3. Hello Tim,

    Thank you for your informative review of MP10 piano. I was just wondering, compared to Roland RD700NX, does MP10, alo have 3 velocity switches?

    Thank you
    Laura

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  4. Hi Tim!

    Thank you for a very nice review.

    I´m considering buying the MP10 or MP6 - considering the difference in price and features, what would you personally go for?

    Kind regards
    Rasmus

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  5. Hi Rasmus, I would prefer that you email me directly and then I can give you some advice.
    Tim

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  6. does the mp10 have built in speakers

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  7. HiTim,
    many thanks for your reviews. I am between the Kawai CN43, CS3 and CA 63. What are the pros and cons for each model, I'm a little confused.....

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  8. Please contact me directly by email and I would be happy to answer your questions and give you piano comparison advice

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  9. Hi Tim,
    I love my new Kawai MP10 and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience in helping me make a great choice. I was so impressed with your objectivity and your patience in determining which piano would best suit my needs. I spent about 4 months researching pianos and could not find anything that fit my both my needs and my budget, and quite frankly, I was overwhelmed by all the options. By happenstance, I stumbled across this blogspot while doing online research and was impressed by the depth and objectivity of your piano reviews. In particular, your review of the Kawai MP10 caught my attention and after talking to you on the phone about that piano, it was clear to me that the MP10 was perfect for me: it has unmatched acoustic piano tones (for an electric stage piano in that price range), it serves my intended purpose (for in-home use as an acoustic piano)without having a lot of extra features that I will not use, and it is visually very attractive and elegant. The piano plays beautifully and sounds incredible through my Event PS8 powered studio monitors. Thanks to your knowledgeable guidance, I feel like I made an excellent choice. I got just what I wanted, without paying for features that I am not likely to use and you were able to offer me a price considerably better than what I had seen elsewhere and it arrived at my house faster than you promised. It was a pleasure doing business with you and I will be in touch!
    Best,
    Ned

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  10. The idea of replacing a cabinet piano by a scenery one is quite interesting.
    But there's still one thing bothering me : which amp/speaker to use with, especially for someone who has no use of his portability and just wants a good acoustic piano replacement for home.
    Another question is : is one amplified speaker enough or do I have to get two in order to get the most out of this wonderful keyboard!
    I'm sure a lot of people has the same concerns, so maybe writing a post about this subject would be interesting.
    Thanks for your advice!

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  11. You ask some good questions. I would be most happy to answer your questions specifically if you email me directly from the email address on this blog.

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  12. I too would want to read your thoughts on one (excellent) amplified speaker vs two. Thanks for considering this.

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  13. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for you patience in guiding me towards the right instrument for me. The MP10 is truly amazing.

    Phoenix

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  14. Hi Tim,
    Would you please post a review of Roland RD-700NX in comparison to Kawai MP10? The RD-700NX is offered for about the same price as MP10 and there are many confusing reviews and comparisons between these two DPs on the internet. Some say mp10 has a better Key Action and some say 700NX has an edge over MP10 in terms of sound . . .

    Thanks in advance.

    Sparrow

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  15. Gentle readers,

    I purchased an MP10 for myself, through Tim, about a year ago. I have already enjoyed countless hours of playing, and am a better person for it.

    I have now persuaded my sister and her husband to "step away from the TV," get an MP10 in their lives. I directed them to Tim.

    If you can afford it, shortchange yourself no longer. Call Tim.

    Paul

    Oregon

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  16. Hi Tim,

    You just about convinced me to go to the Kawai store and purchase
    the MP10 over the CE220 - not the least because the MP10 is portable - until I discovered something you didn't mention, that the CE220 has a transpose function, and the MP10 does not (at least not according to specs at the Kawai site).

    Can you explain why this is so, especially to a singer who cannot always sing songs in the key of C, and so believes he would benefit from a good transpose function (and are they equal on all digitals)?

    Thanks

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  17. The MP10 does have a transpose button:)

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  18. In that case Kawai must have erred by not putting this (the transose function for MP10) in their specs on site, but thanks for your quick reply. (Others have inquired similarly.)

    I suppose I can call to be sure.

    Thanks again...

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  19. It is a physical button on the far right side of the piano control panel. I have used it personally and it is there. It would not be logical for Kawai to have left off that feature as it is on all other Kawai digital pianos.

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  20. Thanks for great reivews. As MP11 is out now, I would look forward to see you review it, specially regarding the new "Grand Feel" action.
    Thanks.

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  21. Actually I have played the MP11 many times and my review of that new model should be up soon...stay tuned

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  22. RM3? No-no… Without third key sensor no way. For me keyboard without 3rd sensor can't be perfect for classical pianist. That's why I better look on RH2, RM3 II and Grand Feel.

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  23. since that key action is no longer made and the MP10 is discontinued, your point is irrelevant. Plus, I never heard complaints from people with regard to the MP10 for the price it was offered at when it was a current product. I hope you find what makes you happy

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  24. How would you compare the 5 years old Kawai MP10 to a Casio PX160? Mp10 has the far superior wooden keys but PX160 just received the samples upgrade from PX5S.

    Used MP10 is about $1100-1200, the PX160 is about $450.

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  25. Your comparison question is pretty funny actually:). The MP10 vs the PX160 is like comparing a Lexus to a Toyota Corolla...not possible, except that both pianos plug into the wall and have 88 keys...those things are the only real similarities.

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