Kawai MP7 review

Kawai MP7

The Kawai MP7 is a stage piano aimed at the professional, gigging musician. Its 256 voices, 129 reverb effects, and 5 types of amp simulators are proof of this piano’s focus on the advanced pianist. This 88 key digital piano has a handful of notable features, some of which include Responsive Hammer II action, its Ivory Touch key surfaces, and its 256-note polyphony.

Below, please take a look at the table below to see how the Kawai MP7 compares to some of its most successful competitors:

Roland RD-88
Nord Stage 3
Casio PX5S
Nord Piano 5
Yamaha YC88
Nord Grand
Casio PX 560Casio PX-560

What the Kawai MP7 Offers You

Below are a few other features of the MP7:

  • Harmonic Imaging sound source
  • Amp Simulator
  • Virtual Technician
  • 2-Track Recorder with 10-song, 90,000 note memory capacity
  • USB/MIDI connectivity
  • Music rack included

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best selling digital stage pianos currently online:

1) Casio PX-560
2) Nord Piano 5
3) Roland RD-88
4) Korg D1
5) Roland RD-2000

The Kawai MP7 is for professionals who are more likely to utilize features like a 4-band EQ function, a tonewheel organ with drawbars, and effects like stereo delay, classic tremolo, phaser, and rotary. The really interesting feature of the MP7 is the tonewheel organ simulation. This feature has 9 adjustable drawbars that function in real-time, chorus/vibrato settings, and percussion controls. There is also the ability to fine-tune the drawbar registrations.

This Kawai digital piano comes with a big LCD display, four control knobs, and an easy-to-use panel interface that gets you immediately playing. This keyboard also features 256 setup memories that allow the pianist to set up their instrument settings for different gigs ahead of time.

Its stylish black and wood-grain display and its compact size, along with its excellent tone, make this piano a pretty good choice if you’re a musician that’s always on the go and really need an instrument that can reliably travel alongside you.

Comparison to the MP6

The Kawai MP6 is the MP7’s predecessor, so it shares many features with the MP7. But before we compare the two instruments, let’s specifically look at the individual features of the MP6.

The MP6 uses Progressive Harmonic Imaging for its gorgeous, authentic sound, while the Ivory Feel keys give the piano its realistic touch. The MP6 also has a Let-off feature that models itself after the touch of a grand piano.

It has USB connectivity, allowing you to record both MP3 and WAV files and save them to a flash drive for uploading to the computer, and it has 16 separate MIDI instrument tracks available.

Other features include:

  • 256 Instrument sounds total includes 22 piano, 10 strings and organs, 20 vintage electric pianos, guitars, and choirs
  • 100 rhythms
  • 192-note Polyphony
  • 256 setup memories
  • 4 Keyboard Zones
  • Chorus/Reverb
  • Hammond organ drawbar
  • LCD display screen

As you can see, the MP6 has several different features for the professional pianist, much like the MP7.

What the MP6 and MP7 Share

Below, please take a look at a handful of features that were carried over from the MP6 into the build of the MP7:

  • LCD screen
  • 256 voices
  • 256 setup memories
  • Harmonic Imaging Sound source
  • Recorder
  • USB/MIDI Connectivity
  • Organ simulator

Some differences between the two include: the polyphony count and the action type. The MP7’s 256-note polyphony trumps the 192-note polyphony of the MP6, while the MP7 uses Responsive Hammer 2 action compared to the MP6’s Responsive Hammer Action. Digital effects matter too, as the MP7 has 129 effects over the MP6’s 23. And finally, the MP6 does not have the Virtual Technician feature that allows you to customize your instrument.

The MP6 is a discontinued model, replaced by the MP7, but this doesn’t mean you couldn’t find a used one if you wanted. However, if you are planning on making the decision to purchase a professional quality instrument (and one that’s brand new), the newer MP7 is a good selection.

Comparison to the Kawai VCP-1

The next piano we’ll compare the Kawai MP7 to is the Kawai VCP-1.

Now, the VCP-1 is not really a digital piano, but a virtual piano controller—meaning, it’s an instrument to be hooked up to a computer for composing, music production, or just plain old playing.

The VCP-1 is the response to sub-par piano controllers that do not mimic the look and feel of an acoustic piano, and encourages pianists to use the virtual piano controller to delve into the ever-growing world of music technology.

The VCP-1 actually features 88 wooden keys, using the exceptional RM3 action and “seesaw” mechanism to recreate the feel of acoustic piano keys. This professional MIDI controller features Ivory Touch keys, so the pianist can feel like a real acoustic piano is beneath his fingertips. The triple-sensor key detection allows the pianist to be musically expressive and explore a range of dynamics.

Similarities between the MP7 and the VPC1 include:

  • 88 wooden responsive hammer action keys
  • USB/MIDI connectivity

Overall, when trying to compare and contrast the two instruments, I think it’s best to think about it like this: the MP7 is for playing music via the keybed’s black and white keys, while the VPC-1 is for creating music on the computer.

Comparison to the Kawai MP11

Up next, we compare the MP7 to the Kawai MP11, the MP7’s big brother. And with about $1000 difference in price, the MP11 costs around $2800 and its high quality brings to mind the phrase “You get what you pay for.”

The MP11 replaces the popular MP10, and is very close to the feel and sound of an acoustic grand piano. It has full-length Ivory-Touch wooden keys with a Grand Feel (GF) action and triple sensors. It uses Harmonic Imaging XL, a new acoustic piano sound model, with 88-key piano sampling to get the most realistic sound possible.

Check out some of the other features, too:

  • 40 Voices
  • 256-note polyphony
  • 129 effects
  • 6 reverbs
  • Virtual Technician feature
  • 208 set-up memories
  • USB Recorder with MP3 and WAV audio capabilities
  • MIDI connectivity
  • 3 pedals included

Playing the MP11 is a treat to the senses. The sound is excellent and the feel of the keys is unmatched. When moving across the piano, the keybed is particularly quiet, which is an important feature when you begin to start hitting the keys harder and harder as you play more complex musical pieces.

What’s Similar Between the Two Pianos?

It should be noted that, despite the massive difference in price, the MP7’s big brother does share some similarities with its younger sibling. The common features are listed below:

  • Harmonic Imaging XL
  • Virtual Technician feature
  • 256-note polyphony
  • 129 Effects
  • 6 Reverb settings
  • Master Equalizer
  • 100 rhythms
  • MIDI/USB connectivity
  • LCD display
  • Record function
  • 5 types of Amp simulator
  • Pedal unit included

There are a few differences between the two instruments, as well:

  • Action—The MP7 has RHII action while the MP11 has Grand Feel with Let-off or GF
  • Voices—MP7=256, MP11=40
  • MP7 features a tone wheel organ while the MP11 does not
  • Price—The MP7=$1799 while the MP11=$2799

To sum it off, look, you’re not going to be unhappy with your MP7.   But when it comes to getting the best sound you can afford, the MP11 beats the MP7. This is a situation in which you need to know what you’re going to use your piano for, and how much you really feel you’ll actually miss out on if you don’t spend the extra amount of money to get the better version of the piano.

MP7 vs the Yamaha CP4

The final piano we’ll compare to the MP7 is a Yamaha digital piano: the Yamaha CP4. The Yamaha CP4 is a stage piano crafted from Yamaha’s signature grand pianos, called Premium GP.

Yamaha CP4
The Yamaha CP4

The lightness of the piano is in part due to the lack of on-board speakers, something many stage pianos do not have. The 128-note polyphony, too, also doesn’t measure up to the 256-note polyphony of the MP7.

Also worth mentioning is the MP7’s 256 voices against the CP4’s 433.

Both have effects like chorus and reverb, split and layering. Both come with a pedal unit and power supply. The Yamaha CP4 does have several buttons/sliders to help a musician customize his or her sound.

It also has sliders for its 5-band EQ, pitch bend wheel, and modulation wheel.

Yamaha CP4 from the back
The Yamaha CP4 from the back

Like the other pianos mentioned here, the CP4 has 88-wooden keys and synthetic ivory tops to add to the realism of the key feel. In fact, this instrument uses a new Yamaha action called the “Natural Wood Graded Hammer” to replicate the feeling of wooden acoustic keys. This gives the piano a sturdy, strong feeling under your fingers. And while your mind knows that you’re not getting the absolute most authentic piano playing experience (it’s not an acoustic piano, afterall), it’s still great enough to that you likely won’t care.

Please note too that the sound, based on Yamaha’s grand pianos, is rich and layered–a delight for the ears.

Both have an excellent sound, though the CP4 at $2,300 dollars is about $500 more than the MP7. So if you are in the market for a great sounding piano with an excellent feel and a decent amount of features, including the cool Virtual technician feature, go for the MP7. It’s a good value for an excellent stage piano made by a company who is known for making high-quality instruments.

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