Kawai is always known to produce the products of extremely quality since its inception in 1927. After being founded by Koichi Kawai the company has started making high class pianos for concerts to reliable and professional digital pianos during its long history.
In its popular series of pianos, ES-series, the company has recently introduced a new product, Kawai ES100 which if first digital piano with weighted hammer action and 88 keys. This piano manufactured by the Japanese company Kawai is available much less than $1000 as its market price is $799 only.
Overview of Kawai ES100
The company has designed Kawai ES100 for intermediate piano students as well as professional musicians who are well versed with the fidelity and sounds of piano. It is also the best piano for students as well as professional pianists due to its very reasonable price range between $500 and $1000. The piano experience provided by this piano is much better than various other expensive pianos of higher price range.
Review of Kawai ES100
The Kawai ES-100 piano is available in both finishes, black and white. The box of this piano includes
- A digital piano Kawai ES100 with 88 keys
- Damper paddle as used in F-10H pianos
- A rest for musical inscriptions
- An AC adaptor
- A user’s manual
Features of ES-100
Optional accessories: Kawai also offer an optional three pedal functionality along with a HML-1 stand to match with the style of your furniture with this piano. As compared to the stands provided by its competitors HML-1 is a bit expensive. This hike in the price of optional items is due to the quality of its materials, 3 pedals made of metal and its elegant finish.
F-10H damper pedal: Kawai has also included a F-10H damper pedal as one of the main features of this digital piano. It is a heavy duty and extremely solid piano style pedal which allows you to use if for half pedal functionality while playing this piano. It is provided separately so you will have to pay $80 additionally while buying it. such damper pad is not provided at this price by any other manufacturer of digital piano.
Lightweight chassis: The chassis of Kawai ES10 is really lightweight as it weighs only 33 pounds for handling it easily. But despite its light weight this piano is also provided with a graded hammer action keyboard and an excellent AHA IV-F to stimulate the feeling of playing a really grand piano as hammer under each of the 88 keys is used to play it.
Basic design of ES-100
The very basic design of Kawai ES-100 includes Play/Stop, Function, Lesson and Rec buttons along with volume slider, power switch on the top and three more buttons to switch between the types of sounds available. By pressing the Function button along with particular keys in the keyboard you can easily manage other options.
There is also a slot for the two 7W integrated speaker and the music rest on the top of its chassis. Alternatively on its rear side you can find a damper jack, an input point for AC adaptor and a MIDI I/O along with two points for the output of phones which you can use to connect your piano to a mixer or P.A. or while practicing on piano in silence.
There is a built-in recorder in Kawai ES100 which can be used to record 1 track songs up to maximum three in number. You can use this piano for playing the recorded songs with earlier recorded songs but the same song cannot be played if recorded on another instrument.
This digital piano does not have any Duet mode to choose a supplementary accessory automatically but still it allows you to play it with 100 different rhythms of drums. This feature along with Split/Layer modes of this piano can be used by solo musicians for their live exhibitions or performances.
The Lesson mode of this piano is based on popular libraries known as Burgmuller 25 Etudes and Alfred’s Song Books. This feature of this piano, available only in Kawai ES100 piano, can be used by the students who want to learn the basics of piano.
Kawai ES-100 is considered as the best and most convenient piano for pro-players, students, piano maniacs and stage musicians even if it lacks certain feature found in various other digital pianos of other brands. These features include LCD display and USB port.
Reasons of popularity of Kawai ES100 among students and musicians
Excellent experience of playing piano
There is a Harmonic Imaging sound engine at the heart of this piano which provides the players a combination of natural and outstanding sounds with the help of AHA IV-F keyboard. Kawai has individually sampled all the notes of 88 keys to provide ultimate tone of the piano with price ranging below $1000. This effort helps the company to achieve its goal.
Three additional features of Kawai piano are the main reasons behind the greatness of its sound. These features include:
- The pedal resonance to allow you to hear the echo and resonation of the strings by pressing the pedal continuously. You can use this feature flexible by using the menu of Function option.
- Kawai added another feature to mix the Damper Rail Noise and Fallback Hammer Noise to get killer and superior sounds of the piano. You can experience all the mechanical sounds in a really grand piano placed but the company has included this feature in its digital piano ES-100.
- You can get louder noise if you press and release the sustained pedal at faster speed as these features of speed sensitive.
Different sound types
You can choose from 19 different types of sounds offered by Kawai ES100 which include 8 stunning tones of different pianos ranging from studio grand pianos to rock pianos and grand concerts to modern pianos along with 192 notes of polyphonic sounds. In this way this piano offers highest number of notes in its class of pianos, which can be played in a very natural and realistic manner.
Other types of sounds included in this piano are sound of two different types of organs, electric piano, samples of vibraphone and harpsichord, to brass presets and two strings. This piano also allows you to split or layer the keyboard into two different zones. You can also use various settings to balance between two sounds like the EQ, the Reverb, mellowness and other advanced settings.
You can also save the sound you have created with this piano just by press in one of its preset buttons provided on the top of the chassis. You can also add a pitch to recall your sounds whenever you want. This feature of Kawai ES100 is specifically useful for the experienced pianists who want to customise the music created by them by using this piano as their primary instrument on the stage. Even professional pianist can also use it if they are addicted to recreate their personal and realistic sounds.
Superiority with other similar pianos
You can know the supremacy of Kawai ES100 by comparing them with Roland F-20 and Yamaha P-115 as both of them are the pianos of same category. Kawai ES100 can be better than both of its rivals on the basis of its price and professional features.
Though Yamaha P115 piano offers the same amount of sounds and maximum polyphony sounds but the action of its keys and tones of this piano are a bit inferior to that of Kawai piano. But this drawback does not make P-115 a low grade instrument. It is still a great instrument because of being an intermediary solution.
Roland F-20 offers realistic and true piano experience by making lighter the higher note and heavier the lower ones even if its keyboard does not offer ivory feel like that of Roland AHA IV-F or Casio. The Kawai ES100 is better than Roland F-20 as it features 192 polyphony sounds than 128 sounds of the later one. Other better features of ES-100 include considerably lower weight, better action of the keys and triple pedal. It is also cheaper than Roland F-20. Instead of focusing on its weak features like action of keyboard and sounds of piano Roland has focused on various modern features like its connectivity with iPad etc.
Though you can change the sounds of your Kawai ES100 piano by using a tablet, using the learning mode or navigate through other options but if you want to connect it with your iPad then you should buy a USB dongle separately.
Pros of Kawai ES100
Graded hammer action: The Harmonic Imaging Sound Technology used in Kawai ES100 for sampling 88 keys to maintain the tone of each note in various types of voices like organs, pianos, strings and bass etc. The technology of Advanced Hammer action used in this piano provides response of realistic touch like any other acoustic instrument. AHA IV-F has provided weighted key to this piano to provide authentic feel by using light weight and heavy weight keys on the opposite ends of the keyboard. It helps the learning pianists to adapt to the form required for playing an acoustic instrument. So the feature of Advanced Hammer action of 88 notes provides a similar touch response as provided by pressing the keys of acoustic piano.
192-note Polyphony: The 192 polyphony notes of this piano ensure not to mute even the most complex passages or cut the other tones while playing. It is one of the advanced features of this piano that can improve the experience of the experienced pianist with obstructing the learning of beginner pianists. The number of polyphony notes offered by this piano is significantly higher than the number of notes provided by other pianos in this category.
Song Recorder: This piano includes a feature of recording three songs which the pianist can use to capture to composition or ideas instantly along with help him to play and monitor his progress while practicing on it. in this way pianists can use three song recording feature of this piano for comparing his performance during training session or saving his own compositions.
Easy to Use: This piano is easy to use due to all of its features. Its additional features will make it easier for the users of advanced level without any hindrance to the beginner players. It makes it easier for the beginners to practice and compose with the help of its 15,000 notes or three tracks. in order to make the learning of the students easier Kawai ES100 is provided with in-built piano lessons that include the songs published by Alfred Publishing in a year.
Connectivity: The feature of MIDI In and Out jacks in this piano enables the users to connect it to other digital instruments, computer and jack of headphones to play it quietly and privately.
Modes: It can play two voices at a time with the help of its Dual Mode. Two voices can be played on two halves of the keyboard with its Split mode. In this way your piano can be shared for one-to-one instructions or group lessons.
Metronome: A built-in metronome in the Kawai ES100 offers wide variety of adjustable time signatures and tempos to make your practice better.
Portability: ES-100 is easily portable because of its only 33 pounds weight. It can be easily transported between your venue of performance or practice and home and vice versa due to its light weight. One can take it from one place to another without seeking for any kind of logistical support at all.
Thus after going through the review of Kawai ES100 you can easily make a well informed decision of buying it. Kawai has introduced it as its most affordable piano, suitable for students as well as professional pianists. Its retail price of $799 may not be very reasonable for the people on budget but it can be the cheapest one when you compare its features with its price. It is undoubtedly the best piano in its class with its realistic tones and graded hammer action keyboard. It is the best portable digital piano due to its light weight in the under $1000 price range. Thus it is the best Kawai piano in comparison to many others in this class on the basis of plenty of its features.