Kawai KDP-110 review: Better Than the KDP-90?
Kawai is a fabulous digital piano manufacturer, and one of their more popular models was the Kawai KDP-90. Now, however, Kawai decided to unveil the new Kawai KDP-110, which is meant to be the successor to the KDP-90.
But does the Kawai KDP-110 live up to expectations?
Well, in this review, I’m going to tackle that exact subject. We’re going to talk about some of the new additions to this piano, with the hope of helping you better determine if the KDP-110 is the right choice for you.
Along with that, we’ll also compare the Kawai KDP-110 to the Kawai KDP-90, as well as the Yamaha YDP-163, the Kawai ES110, and the Kawai CN-27.
And to better help you, we encourage you to take a look at the interactive guide below, which will allow you to directly compare the Kawai KDP-110 against some of the better digital pianos on the market today.
Kawai KDP-110: New Hammer Action
So, whenever you’re looking at buying a new digital piano, one of the first things you’ll likely want to take a closer look at is the hammer action.
Judging hammer action is always a little bit tough, because what you personally like or need in terms of touch and feel might not work for someone else. So, in that way, judging the hammer action on a digital piano can be a bit subjective.
With that said, on the KDP-110, we do indeed have a new key action when compared to the KDP-90. While the KDP-90 featured Advanced Hammer Action IV-F action, on the KDP-110, it’s rocking Responsive Hammer Compact II action.
This new action provides better control while you’re playing the piano. It’s going to feel a bit more accurate, giving you a really nice touch that you covet out of a $1,000+ digital piano—especially one that’s doing it’s best to make you feel you’re playing on a traditional piano.
The triple sensor hammer detection in the KDP-110 really helps to pull that off trick off, and I always appreciate a keybed that features matte key surfaces too. This way, your fingers don’t slip off the keys as easily, just in case they get a little bit sweaty.
Of course, while I’m sure it’s no doubt implied, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the KDP-110 comes with 88 grade weighted keys. Just like what you’d expect to feel on a traditional piano.
And below, please take a minute to view some of the best-selling digital pianos online, and see how well they stack up to the KDP-110.
|1) Casio PX-770|
|2) Yamaha YDP-145|
|3) Roland RP-701|
|4) Yamaha YDP-165|
|5) Casio PX-870|
How Does the KDP-110 Sound?
Compared to the KDP-90, the KDP-110 sounds much richer and deeper on the bottom end.
What’s cool about the KDP-110, too, is that it features Shigeru Kawai SK-EX grand piano sounds. This is especially fantastic if you’re someone that’s really looking for an authentic-like acoustic piano sound that can come from your new $1,100 (or so) digital piano investment.
In order to really get an acoustic piano sound coming from a digital instrument like the KDP-110, Kawai made sure that not only was every key on the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX concert grand recorded individually, but also at various volume levels too. This means that, whether the pianist played lovely pianissimo or intense fortissimo, it was all recorded for the sake of your enjoyment while using the KDP-110.
Another thing that makes the sound on the KDP-110 so lively is its speaker system.
Now, the KDP-90 had two speakers—and the same is true for the KDP-110. But it’s the amp wattage which really helps the music you create and play pack a much, much bigger punch.
And that’s because, on the KDP-90, you had two 13-watt speakers.
On the KDP-110, however, Kawai has bumped that up to 20 watts per speaker. When playing different pieces on the KDP-110, you’ll really notice how much more power you have at your disposal, thanks to the improved wattage.
One additional thing that I think is worth noting here are the sounds you get on the KDP-110.
You get 15 voices here, which is certainly nice enough. To be fair, this isn’t an advantage to the KDP-110, however, as the KDP-90 also featured 15 sounds.
I won’t list all the sounds that come inside the KDP-110, but a few that are featured here are a pipe organ sound (for those that want the sounds of church—or perhaps “The Adams Family”—in their home), electric piano, and even 80s electric piano sounds.
And as with most digital pianos, and it’s certainly the case here, you can layer your music too. So, if you want to play piano and strings together, the KDP-110 certainly allows you to do that effectively.
The Look of the KDP-110
The look and size of both the KDP-110 and KDP-90 are both pretty much identical. They both come in beautiful cabinets that both feature a nice premium Rosewood finish. Both digital pianos are big and heavy, however, clocking in at 83 lbs.
Keep that in mind when trying to determine where you’re going to put this piano in your home. Because once you’ve selected a location for it, you likely won’t want to move it again for a long, long time.
This digital piano also comes with a pull down lid, so you don’t have to feel like you always have to keep your 88-keybed exposed. This is a particularly helpful little feature if you have little kids or cats around, as the lid will easily protect your keys.
Technology with the Kawai KDP-110
So, the KDP-110 wouldn’t be a digital piano without some important connectivity options. And so it’s great to know that you have just that at your disposal in this digital piano.
While you get a variety of instrument voices and built-in lesson songs with the KDP-110, another thing you get is Bluetooth and USB functionality, as well. What this does is allow you to connect your digital piano to different devices, such as a smart phone or tablet, with relative ease.
This also means you’ll be able to connect to apps as well, which is something I’m going to dig into in the next section.
The KDP-110 also has a USB-MIDI port, as well as having standard MIDI In and Out jacks. This of course allows your piano to connect directly to a computer to notate compositions. You can, too, connect your KDP-110 to other devices like workstations or synthesizers, if you either own or have access to them.
Another thing that’s worth noting about the KDP-110 is the improvements made to the overall headphone experience. Using Spatial Headphone Sound technology, you’ll notice that Kawai now allows you to select from three different acoustic presets when using either headphones or earbuds.
And what this does is it adjusts the spatial distance or positioning of the sound, allowing you to create a bit more depth while you’re playing the piano.
A lot of people also like to make sure that there’s flexibility in regards to what kind of headphones they can actually plug into their digital piano. And luckily, Kawai has you covered here, too.
Because underneath the KDP-110’s keybed, you’ll notice that there are two headphone jacks. One is a mini jack, and another is the bigger quarter-inch jack.
So now, no matter what headphones or earbuds you have, you shouldn’t have a problem plugging them into you KDP-110. And thankfully, you’ll no longer have a need for your headphone plug adaptor that converted your mini plug into a quarter inch jack-friendly plug (and vice versa).
One additional feature that’s worth mentioning is what’s called “Concert Magic.” And essentially, the Concert Magic feature is aimed at the person who always was interested in playing piano, but never took a single lesson in their life.
What Concert Magic does is allows you (or your parents or your children or your grandchildren) to hit one of the keys on the piano and it will essentially begin playing one of 40 pre-set songs. From classical piano selections to songs for kids to Christmas songs, this feature helps the player better understand the rhythm and expression of a song.
You won’t become a proficient piano player simply by using Concert Magic, but if you’ve never touched a piano in your life and you want to give it a try, you’ll definitely have a lot of fun with this feature.
Kawai’s Virtual Technician App
So, I mentioned earlier that you can use apps with the KDP-110, and one to consider trying out is the Virtual Technician app.
Now what’s really interesting with this app to me is that, in some ways, it’s sort of aimed at a pianist that tends to favor acoustic pianos over digital ones.
Now, I know that sounds odd, since the KDP-110 is a digital piano, but let me explain.
So the Virtual Technician app allows you to adjust the touch, sound, an overall tuning characteristics of your digital piano.
This means that, if you wanted to make adjustments to touch weight, or damper resonance or hammer noise, you can do all of this within the app.
And so, essentially, the Virtual Technician app gives you flexibility to make your Kawai digital piano touch and sound more like an acoustic piano—depending on your overall preferences.
This is a feature that’s normally only available on Kawai’s CN or CP or CS lines, so the fact that it’s available for the Kawai KDP-110 (along with the Kawai ES8) is a real treat.
How Does the KDP-110 Stack Up?
So now, let’s begin taking a closer looking at how this digital piano stacks up against the competition.
Kawai KDP-110 vs KDP-90
So, we’ve discussed this a bit throughout, but I wanted to give a bit of a recap.
The KDP-110 has a new key action, which is going to give you better control and overall feel a bit more accurate while you’re playing. You also get matte surfaces on the keys, which should help prevent your fingers from slipping while playing.
The KDP-110 also features improved sound and power. With 20 watts per speaker, compared to just the 13 watts available in the KDP-90, you’ll notice a richer, stronger sound when playing music.
- You can read our full review of the Kawai KDP-90 here.
Kawai KDP-110 vs Yamaha YDP-163
The YDP-163 costs about $300 more on average ($1,499) than the KDP-110, and it’s a digital piano that definitely packs a strong punch.
It features a Graded Hammer 3 (GH3) keyboard, which is a step above both the Graded Hammer (GH) and Graded Hammer Standard (GHS).
Both digital pianos do feature 192-note polyphony, which I think is really great if you plan to play more expressive pieces now or in the future.
The KDP-110 does come with Bluetooth if that’s important to you, but things such as speakers and amplifiers remain about the same on each piano (both have two speakers at 20 watts each).
The YDP-163 is a little bit of a heavier digital piano, as it clocks in at 92 lbs. The KDP-110 isn’t a lightweight though, as it comes in at around 83 lbs.
- You can read our full review of the Yamaha YDP-163 here.
Kawai KDP-110 vs CN-27
Now, with both of these being quality Kawai digital pianos, you are going to have a lot of similarities. For example, both digital pianos feature USB, MIDI and Bluetooth connectivity.
Both have the Concert Magic feature, which I discussed earlier. And both allow you to put on your tinkering hat by using the Virtual Technician app.
The Kawai CN27 features Responsive Hammer (RHIII) Action with Let-Off, while the KDP-110 has Responsive Hammer Compact II action.
Both do use Harmonic Imaging for its sound source, and both feature 192 notes of polyphony.
- You can read our full review of the Kawai CN-27 here.
Kawai KDP-110 vs ES110
Now, with the ES110 being a portable piano, you wouldn’t necessarily think there would be any similarities between it and the KDP-110, but that’s not exactly true.
While there’s no access to the Virtual Piano Technician app, you do get 192 notes of polyphony and a Bluetooth capable piano.
The sound is nice on the ES110, but its power isn’t exactly overwhelming. At just 7 watts per speaker, it pales in comparison to what the KDP-110- offers.
It definitely makes up for it in size, though. At just 26 lbs, you’ll be happy to know that the ES110 is easy to carry around your home or your city. Compare that to the KDP-110’s 80+ lbs of weight, and it’s probably easy to determine which piano is most worth you time in the size department.
- You can read our full review of the Kawai ES110 here.
You really can’t go wrong with the KDP-110. It’s a great digital piano that comes with a ton of options, and it’s an instrument that should stand the test of time.
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