REVIEW / Kawai KDP70 Digital Piano 2019 / Home Cabinet Model

Updated REVIEW - Kawai KDP70 Digital Piano - Recommended - The new Kawai KDP70 ($899 internet price) is a new model just coming out July 2019. Up until now the Kawai piano company has not had a stationary home digital piano cabinet model under $1000. In fact, the only Kawai digital piano under $1000 has been the popular ES110 "portable" digital piano with optional furniture stand and optional furniture triple pedal-bar. The ES110 Kawai KDP70 picture internet price is $699 and when you add both the furniture stand & triple pedal unit price of $150 to the piano you get a total price of $849, which is then just a $50 difference in price compared to the KDP70. However, the KDP70 comes with a basic single height matching padded bench (no music storage) and since the bench has a value and the ES110 does not comes with a bench, then that makes the net difference in price very small between those two models so then it becomes a matter or preference in which model you prefer. But the fact is that this KDP70 did not really break any new ground in having new technology or features beyond what Kawai already has out there now. Kwai simply took many of the features of the ES110 ($699) and a couple features of the higher priced Kawai KDP110 ($1199 internet price) and put those things into a nice looking entry level furniture cabinet for less money ($899).

lower prices than internet or Amazon

Kawai KDP70 picture
The new KDP70 and the current model ES110 portable digital piano are very similar instruments with some notable exceptions. The key action is the same, the piano sound chip is pretty much the same (but with some exceptions), and the speakers are the same. So are far as piano playing goes, I don't think most beginner players will notice a difference. The differences include the KDP70 having 16 watts of amplification as opposed to 14 watts of total audio amp power in the ES110. The KDP70 has some obvious cabinet differences (upgrades) with a built-in key cover and a smaller 1/2 size privacy panel attached to Kawai ES110 picture the back of the piano. Both models have music racks, stereo headphones jacks, and good piano sound. The ES110 also comes in a matte black or white finish whereas the KDP70 only comes in matte black finish. However the piano sound chip in the ES110  does have some upgraded and more natural organic piano nuances and natural cabinet and string resonances as compared to the KDP70. But when it comes to the basics, the new KDP70 and current ES110 will both do a good job and provide playing enjoyment. So then why would someone want the new KDP70 over the current model ES110 portable version (stand & pedals optional) or vice-versa? Well...that's where I can really help you understand all of this as you keep reading and there are good reasons for wanting one over the other since price is virtually the same once you add in the stand, pedals, and bench for the ES110.

Kawai KDP70 picture
The key action movement on both the the KDP70 and ES110 is a lighter, faster moving action with 2 key sensors under each key. The keys have plastic keytops like other digital pianos and the touch is comfortable and I find it enjoyable to play. Some pianos have 3 key sensors under each key as opposed to two key sensors because 3 sensors is supposed to increase the ability of keys to have faster and better note repetition and normally that is true. However, if the 2 senors are high quality and have with the latest MIDI note software, then using 2 key sensors can be just as effective as having 3 of them. The piano sound chip in this KDP70 Kawai ES110 picture model is not quite the same as the one in the portable ES110 because there are not only more available grand piano tones in the ES110, but all of the piano tones sound more natural in the ES110 as compared to the KDP70 due to additional organic sound content in the ES110 sound chip which increases the natural qualities that you normally hear in a regular acoustic piano. So for intermediate and more advanced piano players, the ES110 would have a more realistic piano sound along with being able to adjust those organic Kawai KDP70 picture elements in the piano sounds through a feature called "Virtual Technician"...but I will talk more about that later. The KDP70 has 192-notes of polyphony power (as does the ES110) which is sufficient for playing just about any type of music. As I mentioned, the ES110 has more acoustic piano sound settings than does the KDP70 including Studio Grand 2, Mellow Grand Piano, Mellow Grand Piano 2, and Rock Piano. Having the 4 additional grand Kawai KDP70 picture piano tones in the ES110 makes a big difference as far as I am concerned because there are a lot of people out there who like more acoustic piano tones instead of less including a more "mellow" grand piano sound. But the KDP70 does not have that so instead of having the same 7 acoustic piano sounds in the KDP70 that are in the ES110, you get just 3 of them in the KDP70 which are the EX Concert Grand, Concert Grand 2, and Studio Grand. Although those 3 sounds are quite good with the EX Concert Grand being the best of the three, I do enjoy the additional 4 acoustic sounds in the ES110 and they are very useful and valuable as far as I am concerned.

Kawai KDP70 picture
As far as pedaling goes, the KDP70 has all 3 pedals including sustain, sostentuo, and soft. There is a good amount of sustain/decay time for the piano sounds when using the sustain pedal which other digital pianos in this price range cannot do...so that is a very good thing, especially when wanting more natural legato piano tones or more tonal fill-in when holding down the sustain pedal. That sustain pedal also triggers half-damper effect which offers a variable amount of sustain instead of just on/off...and that's a very good thing. The advantage to the pedals on the ES110 is that you automatically get a top-of-the-line single sustain pedal which also triggers the half-damper variable sustain effect so that you can play the piano anywhere you want with a great sustain pedal and just put the ES110 on a adjustable and collapsible portable stand if you need to put the piano away or take it with you. When you purchase the optional triple pedal-bar for the portable ES110 then you get the same pedal functions as you would on the KDP70.

Kawai KDP70 picture
As far as functions and features go, the KDP70 has a total of 15 instrument sounds and the ES110 has 19 instrument sounds. I like the instrument sounds on the KDP70 very much but instead of giving you more acoustic piano tones, the KDP70 instead offers synthesizer tones that the ES110 does not have and no bass sounds at all because the KDP70 does not offer the "split" sound function whereas the ES110 does have split function. "Splitting" the 88 notes means you have a bass tone (from an upright bass instrument) on the left hand and a regular instrument sound (piano, etc) for the right hand. That's a pretty cool Kawai ES110 picture feature to have because it allows you the ability to play music in ways that you otherwise cannot do on a KDP70. The KDP70 is able to layer/mix any 2 sounds together and play them simultaneously which is great and the ES110 can do this as well. I enjoy layering 2 sounds together (such as piano & strings) and it can be useful and enjoyable depending on the type of music you are playing. The KDP70 does have a "four-hands mode" feature meaning that 2 students can play on the 88-keys by having them electronically divided into two 44-note keyboards which then would have the same notes in the same matching octaves...the same as having two physical 44-note keyboards side by side...only it's all on one 88-key instrument. The advantage to this feature is that you can have 2 students practicing the same music at the same time or a teacher & their student playing at the same time. Although this is a nice function I find that it is seldom used at all, but it is still good to have access to it.

Kawai KDP70 picture
The KDP70 has reverb effects for different amounts of echo which adds to the ambiance of the music, also an adjustable digital metronome for rhythm & timing training, and a 1-track, 3-song MIDI recorder to record your music and save it into a maximum of 3 memory slots. This record function is a nice feature to help students and players when they are working on a song and they want to hear how they're doing. However, I would have much preferred a 2-track recorder for separate left & right hand record and playback so that you could isolate parts instead of have both hands recorded into 1 part. Being able to separate hands for recording & playback is a much more useful educational tool although 2-track recorders/players are available on other brands of digital pianos in Kawai ES110 picture this price range. You can change the key touch sensitivity in the KDP70 by digitally change the sensitivity from light to hard and in-between and this feature can be a good one depending on your piano playing experience. You can also transpose the key that your in by digitally changing that key and going up or down by half-steps while not actually changing your key/note positions in the song. This is great especially if you want to sing along but need the song in a different vocal key. All of these features that I just mentioned are in the ES110 as well. The control panel on the KDP70 has 6 buttons for control of specific functions including metronome, recording, sound selection, concert magic, and built-in lesson songs. So access is fairly easy although to find an instrument sound is not near as intuitive. However, on the ES110 there are instrument category buttons for easier access to sounds as well as other buttons to use many other features.

Concert Magic
Another impressive feature in this KDP70 is the fun educational features that are built into the computer software. None of the other big manufacturers have anything like this and it's a pretty cool thing to have assuming you would use it. One of those fun features is called Concert Magic, an intelligent interactive rhythm training feature with built-in song playback. Concert Magic can be very useful if you are a beginner of any age including being 2 years old or 92 years old. Imagine if you wanted to play a full song on the piano with both left hand and right hand together and you could push/tap any key on the piano and it would play the correct note or notes of the song...well that's what Concert Magic does. There are 40 complete built-in popular songs in the Concert Magic piano memory which you can choose from. Once you make you song selection, then you can play it.
Kawai KDP70 Digital Piano picture
Concert Magic for any age
But playing it means you would put a finger on any key and push or tap the key down and as you do that you would get the full left and right hand notes (chords) playing the song as you pressed the keys. In other words, you can never make a mistake! The point of that exercise is to help you understand rhythm, timing, and tonal dynamics while listening to the correct notes of the song. You don't have to know anything about reading music or using the correct fingers on the correct keys to hear a song (a nice concept). There are standard songs, Christmas songs, folk tunes, classical music, and others tunes offered with Concert Magic that you may recognize. The goal of Concert Magic is to allow anyone to press the any key down to hear the correct notes coming out and then try to keep the correct timing & rhythm using the built-in metronome which you can set for nearly any time signature and speed. It's so much fun watching a 2 year old press keys down and have the song notes sound perfect and moving along to the next notes every time they press any white or black key. If you are a beginner of any age and want to be able to press the keys and have perfect music come out instantly, then you'll really have fun with the Concert Magic feature while you are learning. However, unless you have young kids or are an adult and don't know how to play piano, it's unlikely that you will use this Concert Magic feature, and if you do then eventually you'll likely grow out of it and not use it much anymore.

Alfred's basic piano course pic
Another educational feature of the KDP70 is the built-in music lesson library consisting of Alfred's basic piano library of songs books 1A and 1B (a very popular lesson book series) along with Burgmuller 25 Etudes. With the built-in music library in the piano you can purchase the appropriate music books and then play along with the built-in songs at any tempo you wish (slower or faster) and also separate out the left hand and right hand parts for playback with controls in the piano accessed by the function button and keys. The Alfred piano leaning series of lesson books library is very popular with pianos teachers and is especially useful if you are a beginner or novice player so you can listen to left and right hand Alfred piano course pic parts separately on the KDP70 (before you play the song yourself) to understand how each part sounds and to then play each part one at a time along with the song playing back. It's a pretty cool feature and Kawai is the only digital piano company with this kind of built-in lesson song library. There are many other Alfred piano and music books beyond level two but the KDP70 does not have those songs built in. You would need to get a digital piano that is General MIDI compatible along with a built-in USB flash drive (such as the popular Casio PX780 - $899 internet price) to play other Alfred lesson book songs (including other lesson book publishers such as Faber). If you are taking lessons with a piano teacher and they are not using this Alfred curriculum in your lessons then using this feature could be a bit distracting from the educational curriculum that you are using. But for other people this feature could be a benefit because it can add fun to the learning experience. Personally I would rather have a built-in USB flashdrive in the piano (which is not offered in the Kawai models) so I could load my own lesson and music songs for books that I would like to get.

One thing the Kawai ES110 has that the KDP70 does not have are drum rhythm patterns. Usually, just about all digital pianos these days have a digital metronome built in (like both the KDP70 & ES110) to help with rhythm and timing training, and that's a good thing to help keep you "on the beat." However, aside from classical music which uses metronomes to help students...pop, jazz, rock, blues, Latin, country, and other music that people like to hear and play is generally played in bands with drummers...not metronomes! The "drummer" in the band keeps the "beat" to help the rest of the players with the rhythm and timing of the song. Also, drummers can make the song sound more exciting with the drum percussion and patterns they play and it helps maintain the realism of that music style. In the ES110 piano there are 100 actual drum rhythm patterns including rock, jazz, blues, Latin, waltz, march, country, and lot's more which you can access instead of just the plain metronome sound. Those drum rhythm patterns give you a better sense of "real-time" rhythm & timing so that you can play along with any of those 100 drum rhythms for a more enjoyable musical experience, just like playing along with a real drummer in a band. This can help give you a better sense of what real rhythm is all about and a chance to learn how to interact and play along with it...plus it's fun. I use drum rhythms to help better train some of my piano students in understanding how to be more sensitive and more accurate in their rhythm training and practice...and it's just a great musical educational tool to have.

Kawai KDP70 picture Both the Kawai KDP70 and the ES110 have good internal speaker system as I mentioned earlier and they both have MIDI outputs to computer but not direct USB. So to connect to an external device like tablet or computer you need to purchase a MIDI to USB adapter for about $40 which would obviously be an extra cost...but it is needed if you want to do this. There are no audio line outputs on the KDP70 so if you wanted to boost the Kawai ES110 connectors pic quality and fullness of the piano sound by connecting to an external speaker system of some type then you could not properly do that on the KDP70. However, on the ES110 there are separate audio left and right channel 1'4 output jacks on the back of the ES110. This really great because then you can greatly enhance the piano playing experience you would get by connecting to an external speaker/sound system. I have done that and it makes a big difference in fullness and bass response of the piano sound so that's a big advantage to the ES110. One more important feature the ES110 has over the new KDP70 is Bluetooth wireless MIDI connectivity. This allows you to connect your computer, tablet, or mobile device to the ES110 so you can use Bluetooth capable apps without need of a wired connection. This is great for educational and professional purposes and works well. The KDP70 does not have this feature so it just depends if this might be important to you...but it's good to know about.

Kawai KDP70 picture
When you boil it all down, in my opinion the real reason to purchase the KDP70 is primary because you like this style cabinet over the Kawai ES110 contemporary cabinet. The KDP70 has a traditional sliding key cover, a more traditional music rack, a small partial privacy back-board behind the piano, and the the cabinet design is just more traditional. The KDP70 cabinet measurements are 54"x 16"x 34" and it weighs in at 77lbs and comes in a matte black cabinet color only. The ES110 measurements with the stand are 52" x 11" x 6" and it weighs in at 26 lbs without the stand, 50 lbs with the stand, and 61 lbs with the stand and triple pedal and comes in either matte black cabinet or matte white cabinet. There is no doubt in my mind that the ES110 Kawai ES110 picture portable piano (with stand & triple pedal unit) is the superior instrument because it offers many more good acoustic piano sounds (which is the main reason why people want a piano) along with more practical features and functions that are more easily accessed from it's upgraded control panel. There are even registration memory buttons on the ES110 which will store your favorite sound settings for instant recall whereas the KDP70 does not have that feature. But what the KDP70 does have is a more traditional appearance which is attractive and is an advantage for some people. Kawai ES110 picture You might think that the KDP70 would have a bigger, better internal speaker system because it is larger and heavier, but the KDP70 only has 1 more watt of power on each of the two amplifiers and the speakers are the same. The ES110 is certainly Kawai ES110 picture more flexible in terms of it's cabinet, ability to quickly disassemble the ES110 and transport it quickly and easily. You can even play the ES110 with just the main single sustain pedal and not have to connect the triple pedal unit if you don't need it...and most people who use these pianos never or rarely use the other 2 pedals. I like the fact that Kawai is offering a lower entry level "furniture cabinet" digital piano under $1000. But in my opinion if you are wanting the biggest bang for the buck then you should either go with the better ES110 or move up to the much better Kawai KDP110 furniture cabinet digital piano at $1199 internet discount price. For only $300 more there are some very compelling features on that model which makes it the better long term investment as far as Kawai furniture cabinet digital pianos are concerned.

Casio PX870 picture
Casio PX870
It is important for me to note that right now there are 2 other digital pianos that offer a "big bang for the buck" near or under $1000 that I recommend you also consider. Those pianos are the Casio PX870 at $999 internet discount price which has features that go far beyond that of the new Kawai KDP70, and this Casio PX870 has been very popular because of its larger 40 watt x 4 speaker multi-projection stereo sound system and a 256-note polyphony full stereo piano sound chip, and it's only $100 more than the KDP70. The other model is the new Casio PXS1000 portable digital piano for $599 discount internet price (not including stand or triple pedal unit). It's comparable to the ES110 but much newer in digital piano technology and does quite a bit more in terms of features, functions, and internal speaker system...and it's $100 less than the Kawai ES110. Go ahead and check out my reviews of these 2 models at the following links and let me know what you think. All of these pianos are good choices so whatever digital piano you believe would be the right one for you, please let me know before you buy anything from anyone...you'll be glad you did. Casio PX870 Review   Casio PXS1000 Review

If you want more info on new digital pianos and LOWER PRICES than Amazon or internet discounts, please email me at tim@azpianowholesale.com or call direct at 602-571-1864.

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