Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Which has the better action: Kawai MP4 or GEM pRP800?


MusicMatters

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I'm looking to dump the terrible Korg that I currently have and get something else. Most of the time I'll be using it with Ivory, so my top three criteria are action, action, action. It would be nice if the piano sounds are good as well, but that's secondary.

 

From what I've read, the Kawai's have a great action, but apparently GEM has changed the action in their products. Can anybody let me know how they compare?

 

Also, anybody know what street price is on the CA-X and the ES4? I can't find anybody nearby me selling either.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 27
  • Created
  • Last Reply

A friend of mine just tried the GEM PRP series last week and said it was WAY better than the Promega3.

 

I can't imagine using the Kawai as a controller as it's a bit wiggly and has a hard landing.

 

Why spend so much on a controller? Why not buy a dedicated controller instead of a digital piano, if you're just going to use it with Ivory?

 

The CME UF8 can be had for $500 and has a very responsive graded hammer action. The newer VX8 is twice the price, but I doubt you need its motorised faders and drum machine styled pad triggers.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Ann P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico Bari, Dano Bari

Select Strat/Tele, Am Pro Jazzmaster, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, T64, PM2, EXL1, XK4, Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Mark Schmieder:

I can't imagine using the Kawai as a controller as it's a bit wiggly and has a hard landing.

Um, gotta disagree. As always, try it for yourself, but the Kawai MP8 action throws a real hammer that lands like a real piano. Mine's not wiggly at all.

 

The keyboard on GEM's Pro3 is a Fatar. For their latest models they are using a different keyboard from a different manufacturer. Haven't played it though.

 

As a controller the MP8 wind hands down. Comprehensive midi capabilities and a user velocity curve that you set up by just playing.

 

By all means check out the CME UF8, but I don't think it's in the same league.

Gig keys: Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Crumar Mojo 61, Crumar Mojo Pedals

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted by Niacin:

Um, gotta disagree. As always, try it for yourself, but the Kawai MP8 action throws a real hammer that lands like a real piano

 

:thu: +1, The Kawaii MP8 has incredible action. Its probably the closest action to a real piano that I've played on a DP. As always get what you want, but I do agree with the posts that what your looking at might be overkill when a controller would probably do the trick. For the money you'd be saving by geting a dedicated controller, you could get the exapnsion for ivory and another softsynth program.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

I know that most of the boards we're discussing are overkill for a controller. I'll be using Ivory most of the time, but maybe 10 percent of the time I'll need a built-in pinao sound. So, some sounds are necessary.

 

A coworker has a studiologic controller and I messed around on it a bit and it was OK, but I wasn't overly impressed. So, I'm not sold on Fatar's action.

 

I found a Kawai dealer that has an ES4 on the floor that I can try out, but I'm still curious about the pRP800. Any thoughts on its action?

 

Also, does anybody know what street price is for the ES4 and the CA-X?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ES4 1,220

MP4 1,010

MP8 1,696

 Find 600 of my jazz piano arrangements and tutorials for educational purposes at patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In much the same way as discussing the "best" piano sound, this question can only really be answered for you by you.

 

As for not being "sold on Fatar's action", you need to realize that Fatar does not make a single action, but a wide range of keyboard assemblies for many different applications and manufacturers. It's a bit like saying you're not sold "on Toyota's cars", but have only driven a Corolla. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right, and it was the MP4 that I was commenting on. Can't remember for sure, but I think the MP8 uses a higher-grade (no pun intended) action.

 

My info on the new GEM models is from a friend in my former residence of Boston, who has more access than I do to trying out everything that's available. His understanding was that the PRP series PROBABLY is not from Fatar, but at any rate is different from the Promega 3, which itself was a custom action made to spec based on GEM's requirements.

 

One really has to treat each item separately. Even though I tend to hate Roland actions, I always keep an open mind and was pleasantly surprised by their slightly older digital pianos, while being unpleasantly horrified by the latest models. It's all very personal, like the sound of the piano itself. But it can still help if people make a general characterisation of an action that is at least semi-technical and neutral, so reading what others have to say can help narrow the field.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Ann P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico Bari, Dano Bari

Select Strat/Tele, Am Pro Jazzmaster, LP 57 Gold, G5422DC-12, T486, T64, PM2, EXL1, XK4, Voyager

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Floyd Tatum:

Originally posted by niacin:

Um, gotta disagree. As always, try it for yourself, but the Kawai MP8 action throws a real hammer that lands like a real piano. Mine's not wiggly at all.

niacin, the OP is asking about the MP4, not the MP8.
Right, sorry. FWIW the action and sounds on the ES4 are the same as the MP4. so if you can try out the ES4 and you like it you could confidently order an MP4 which has no onboard speakers but does have the midi controller stuff you might want. You might also want to check out what sort of pedalling Ivory responds to and consider what you'll need and what controllers can provide it.

 

I would save the extra moolah and get the MP8.

Gig keys: Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Crumar Mojo 61, Crumar Mojo Pedals

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Mark Schmieder:

A friend of mine just tried the GEM PRP series last week and said it was WAY better than the Promega3.

I've no idea why your friend would say that.. no where near as good as the PM3... I've had both at the same time. The main piano sounds are the same mind you, but theres some really odd things in the PRP where the price cut really starts to make itself obvious... e.g. very noisy (i.e. pointless) EQ circuit, terrible clicky action, 9v PSU adapter, very odd design with a big metal lip protruding from the bottom making it hard to carry without the lip digging into your fingers.. etc...

 

I did enjoy some of the new sounds of the PRP though..

 

If I was going for a cheap GEM route I'd get the module and a cheap weighted controller, like one of the CME range ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by orangefunk:

Originally posted by Mark Schmieder:

A friend of mine just tried the GEM PRP series last week and said it was WAY better than the Promega3.

I've no idea why your friend would say that.. no where near as good as the PM3...
lol. :freak::P

 

I've run into people who sound lousy on a PM3. In fact, one of my own students. She's got her grade 10 piano - which in Canadian terms is pretty advanced - and I would recommend something else if she were in the market for a digital.

 

What is it, orangefunk? What makes us so special? ;):cool:

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by gangsu:

What is it, orangefunk? What makes us so special? ;):cool:

Sheer good taste... :P

 

People seem to say a lot of bad things about the PM3. In terms of sound nothing comes close... believe me if Yamaha made a piano that sounded as good I'd have it... I do have issues with GEMs support network in the UK. My PM3 has been in repair for nearly 5 months now... lots of excuses... hopefully it will be back by xmas...

 

We only go to Grade 8 in the UK.. I wonder what the extra 2 grades give you...???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by orangefunk:

Sheer good taste... :P

yeah that's it. :D

 

really sorry you haven't got your piano back yet. Good luck with that.

 

I finally got the latest OS upgrade. I can't say as I hear a big difference in the acoustic pianos - and I haven't even checked out the rhodes. ;) It's just good to know somebody's out there looking after quirks that I'm not even aware of.

 

Well our grade 10 is probably the equivalent of your grade 8, both in terms of level of difficulty, and in money to be collected by the conservatory.

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by orangefunk:

Originally posted by gangsu:

What is it, orangefunk? What makes us so special? ;):cool:

Sheer
Y'know on reflection, I reckon its a combination of intellect, good taste and large sexual organs... but I'm a guy and inebriated so I'm likely to stretch the truth...

 

Yep not much of an intellect....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an MP 4, and well as an MP9500, and I'm really happy with the action on the MP 4. It holds its own against the MP9500, even though it doesn't have wooden keys like the MP9500 and MP 8. Also, I like the new piano sound. Kawai is using techniques similar to Gem now, I believe. The sound is more dynamic then the MP9500, which was already pretty good for a digital piano.

 

Also, the MP4 has many powerful midi features. You can split the keybaord into 4 zones, either overlapping or seperate which you can assign different midi channels and attributes to. You also have four internal zones for the built in sounds you can use simultaniously, for a total of 8 zones. You can assign or disable the damper pedal, the footswitch, and the expression pedal to any zones you want. For example, just have the damper work on zone two, and not zone 3 and 4. The footswitch and expression pedal (optional purchase) can be assigned to any of a number of different functions, such as sostenuto, volume, effects contol, etc. You also have four knobs you can assign to midi functions (to control delay, reverb, wah, phaser etc). You can pitch shift any of the zones up or down any interval up to 3 octaves.

 

The MP4 is one of the best midi controllers on the market. It may be the best, as far as I know, except for the MP8. Although I don't really know enough about most other keyboards to say for sure. But as far as my limited knowledge goes, the MP8 is the best midi controller available, followed by the MP9500 and MP4. Perhaps some of the owners of other keyboards can let us know what they think of their keyboard's midi capabilities. I know before I got the MP4, I was thinking of getting the top of the line Fatar controller. It had eight knobs, so I thought, great 8 external zones. But researching it, as far as I could determine, you couldn't split the keyboard at all, and the knobs were just for controlling midi functions, e.g. reverb depth, etc. I just like the split zones. It gives me plenty of options to do a multitude of things, overlap sounds, or have bass on bottom, piano in the middle, and horns on the high keys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jazz+:

ES4 1,120

MP4 1,010

MP8 1,696

I just got back from a local dealer who had the ES4 on the floor. I played it for a bit and really liked it. However, the best that he was willing to do was $1700.

 

Can you let me know where you're seeing the ES4 for 1120? The nice black finish of the ES4 is worth the extra $110 in the prices above to me.

 

The ES4 is not sold online and I don't see any on eBay. Where should I look?

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The MP4 is good, but the MP8 is *much* better in my opinion. It's worth the extra money just for the action, assuming you don't have to move it too often (it weights a ton).

 

ProMega3 sounds excellent. Keyboard is very responsive, just a bit light for my tastes.

 

I played a PRP only once, can't remember which model, and I found its action quite disappointing. It han a rather unnatural weighting, which gave it a strange, uncomfortable response.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i tried a GEM PRP700 in bristol (UK) during the summer - i tried numerous other boards, but i kept coming back to the GEM - there was also a slightly dearer KAWAI that i liked (can't remember the model) - but the GEM sounded great, it felt great, and it looks just dreamy (tho ill accede thats irrelevant).

 

I do prefer lighter action tho...i remember playing on the steinway grand at college - very heavy, and i felt i had very little control. (probably just my half-baked technique). on the GEM i can get all the expression i require without being shagged out after 10 minutes. i tried the roland rd700 somewhere else a little later on - ok, but in comparison, it just didnt cut it.

 

but you really have to try these things for youself . its so subjective.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by niacin:

By all means check out the CME UF8, but I don't think it's in the same league.

i was considering a cheap controller to go with my new laptop. the cme uf8 was extremely disappointing action-wise, very clunky. the studiologic SL-990 boards even worse - from a purely pianistic/expressive pov, not good (imo).
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
Originally posted by MusicMatters:

Originally posted by Jazz+:

ES4 1,120

MP4 1,010

MP8 1,696

I just got back from a local dealer who had the ES4 on the floor. I played it for a bit and really liked it. However, the best that he was willing to do was $1700.

 

Can you let me know where you're seeing the ES4 for 1120? The nice black finish of the ES4 is worth the extra $110 in the prices above to me.

 

The ES4 is not sold online and I don't see any on eBay. Where should I look?

 

Thanks!

$1,696 for an MP8? :o

 

All of the places I've looked at were close to 2. :S

 

Where could I get one for $1,700? ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm on this same quest - looking for a good new piano-style master controller. I recently tried the CME and the M-audio 88 key controllers - and found them lacking in the "feel" department. Probably a decent buy for a limited budget, tho'.

 

Do you think a Yamaha p-series would be a good contender? Certainly easier to find than the Kawai's (at least here in O-town).

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use a Yamaha P200 as a controller for an Motif ES rack unit and am very happy with it. I use it strictly for playing out - and don't really do much in terms of MIDI setup other than saving the codes for the Motif voice I want as part of a "Performance" preset on the P200. I LOVE the fact that there is a physical button on the P200 that turns MIDI output ON and/or OFF. I find this extremely convenient.

 

The SpaceNorman :freak:

The SpaceNorman :freak:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by niacin:

Originally posted by Mark Schmieder:

I can't imagine using the Kawai as a controller as it's a bit wiggly and has a hard landing.

Um, gotta disagree. As always, try it for yourself, but the Kawai MP8 action throws a real hammer that lands like a real piano. Mine's not wiggly at all.

 

T

Right - the higher end Kawai actions are great but the MP4 does not have that action and its a bit rubbery. At least the one I got to try was. Its a $1000 less and also lighter, I think, so for many the trade-off will be worth it.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...