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Digital Piano Comparison: Yamaha VS Roland VS Kawai VS Casio: Which Brand Is Best?

Digital Piano Comparison: Yamaha VS Roland VS Kawai VS Casio: Which Brand Is Best?

My Store Admin |

With so many different digital piano models available from various brands, it’s easy to get lost and wonder what the difference is between them all. We’re frequently asked, “which digital piano brand is best?” to which, there is no firm answer as it’s based on preference. However, each brand has unique features exclusive to them that might help your decision a bit easier.

 

 

Of course, if this article doesn’t answer all of the questions you have, just contact us! It’s also worth mentioning that some digital pianos include free home installation. This means that one of our experienced in-house piano delivery teams will deliver and install it into your property free of charge, and we’ll even take away the packaging.


 

 

 

Yamaha is probably the most well known name when it comes to digital pianos. As makers of world class acoustic pianos, Yamaha have a lot of experience which is then put into their digital instruments. As you would expect, Yamaha sample their own acoustic concert grand pianos so you get a really rich sound. In terms of tone, they tend to be quite bright, more so than the other brands.

 

Depending on which model you opt for, you’ll likely have a slightly different piano sound. The Yamaha YDP143 and YDP163 sample the CFIIIS concert grand. From the CLP625 upwards, they sample the Yamaha CFX concert grand – one of the finest pianos in the world. They also sample the Bosendorfer Imperial, so you’ve got two world class piano sounds to choose from. Of course, all Yamaha Clavinovas have more sounds to choose from. If you want a piano that boasts an enormous array of sounds and features, look at the Yamaha CVP range.

Yamaha use their expertise in creating keyboards for acoustic pianos when they design their digital instruments. Starting at Graded Hammer Standard, then moving to Graded Hammer 3X, then going up to the Natural Wood X action, all Yamaha digital pianos have a great feel. The higher up the range you go, the more it feels like an acoustic piano – as the NWX’s name suggests, it uses real wood so that the keys feel more like they do on an acoustic piano. The for CLP600 series, Yamaha introduced their newest and most authentic keyboard action to date – GrandTouch. The incredible GrandTouch action features on the CLP675 and CLP685.

 

 


 

Roland were one of the first companies to start making digital pianos in the mid 70s and even today, they’re still introducing new technology to give piano players a better digital playing experience. Roland don’t make acoustic pianos and so aren’t constricted to only sampling one brand. They sample some of the biggest American and European brands – as a result, Roland digital pianos tend to have a softer, more mellow sound – not as bright as some of their Asian counterparts.

 

Roland also have a unique sound engine – SuperNATURAL. In a nutshell, SuperNATURAL enables the Roland digital pianos to respond more like an acoustic, so each note has a unique tonal characteristic, as well as pitch. Note velocities are also smooth to give better dynamic response and how the sound decays is more natural. To read a more in depth explanation of Roland’s SuperNATURAL, click here.

Roland’s Progressive Hammer Action (PHA) gives you the feel of an acoustic piano – particularly the most recent incarnation – PHA50. This utilises both wood and modern materials so you get a traditional feel as well as improved durability. Roland offer a huge range, from high quality beginner stage pianos like the FP-30 all the way up to the GP607 digital grand piano.


 

 

 

Like Yamaha, Kawai have been producing acoustic pianos for decades and so they sample their own high end instruments for their digital pianos. Whilst they’re not generally quite as bright as Yamahas, they are usually brighter in sound than Roland digital pianos.

 

Kawai use their own Harmonic Imaging technology to ensure you get a great response when playing. Each note on the keyboard can give you up to 128 different tonal options, depending on how hard you press the key down. This combined with their Responsive Hammer keyboard action allows you to play with incredible expression. Again, there’s the full range of instruments from stage pianos to larger cabinets like the CS and CA series. The below video showcasing the new Kawai CN27 and CN37 highlights some their unique features.


 

 

 

Casio are another giant in the world of electronics. Their unique way of getting a great piano sound is through their AiR (Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator) sound source. This ensures that you get all the string resonanace that you would get on an acoustic piano – it also gives you the right tone for how hard you strike the key. The video below will hopefully help.

 

Casio offer really good value for money, with their entry level portable stage piano – the Casio CDP130 coming in at under £300. Around the £400-600 mark they also have some great sounding and playing pianos. More recently however, Casio have released a brand new digital piano that has been designed with one of the biggest acoustic piano brands – Bechstein. The Casio Grand Hybrid pianos use wooden keys and real hammers so that you get a truly authentic feel. They’ve also sampled three of the best European acoustic grand pianos for a classic sound.

 

 

Conclusion

 

As the above hopefully demonstrates, each brand has their own way of creating a digital version of a natural, acoustic sound. Yamaha and Kawai have been making acoustic pianos for decades and so have plenty of expertise when it comes to crafting these instruments. Roland and Casio on the other hand, are masters of the technological side of things as that’s all they do. Also, whilst Yamaha pianos tend to quite bright and Roland mellow, with the other two in between, on many of the higher up models, you can tweak the sound to get it to your liking. It’s also important to note that personal preference is a huge part of choosing your piano – what I might prefer may well be different to what you prefer.

 

What the pianos offer in terms of features vary from model to model. You can also pick your piano in terms of portability or how it looks. All brands offer stage pianos that are easier to transport, as well as the more traditional designs. Also if space is an issue, look at some of the more compact slimline pianos. If you’re still puzzled as to which model to go for then please don’t hesitate to contact us – we can find the right piano to match your needs.