Kawai EP3 Digital Piano

Kawai LogoDoes Kawai ring any bells? It does for me, not only because they have been in the market forever, but because they have always been doing high quality acoustic pianos. And more lately also doing amazing digital pianos and synthesizers.

The company was founded in 1927 by Koichi Kawai, a gifted piano craftsman, in Japan. Today, it is a proudly family owned business and has been for three generations.

They have a massive product family, but it’s the EP3 Digital piano that I want to talk about here. The digital vs. acoustic is always a dilemma. We receive many emails from people asking about digitals, so if you are after one, the EP3 is well worth a look.

The EP3 model is one of two models in their portable digital range and boasts a range of features that really make this a versatile instrument for the at-home user as well as the gigging musician.

Main Features:

  • Harmonic Imaging sound technology
  • 88-Key AHAIV-F graded hammer action
  • 21 exceptional instrument sounds
  • Dual, Split and Four-Hands modes
  • 96-note polyphony
  • Powerful built-in speaker system with bass-reflex enclosures
  • Elegant black finish
  • Optional designer stand
  • Optional soft road case with wheels

Touch and tone, “remarkably realistic feel…” is what Keyboard magazine said about its graded hammer action. So, touch won’t be a problem with this Digital piano. What about Tone? Japan has always being on top of technology and the Kawai family is not the exception, something that digital pianos lack of is the “real acoustic piano sound”, well, Kawai has been able to achieve this using their harmonic imaging technology, capturing every realism and every sound that a real acoustic piano has.

The EP3 Digital piano has a really nice built in sound system with a full bodied sound. It comes with 26 watts speakers of stereo sound and the popular bass reflex system.

It comes with the typical L/R outputs if you wanna get it crankin’ on bigger sound systems. If you need to practice quietly at home, you can plug your headphones in and turn off the built in speakers. You can also connect your iPod or Mp3 player so you can play along with all your favorite tracks.

What about built in sounds? The EP3 has 21 different sounds ranging from classical guitar to string choir and the classic organ sound, just to name a few. You can of course, combine two different sounds or layers, but what is great is that you can EQ each of them separately. Let´s say that you want the classic organ sound backed up by the string choir, you can simply press a button and to balance the volumes of each layer to your liking – 50-50, 75-25, etc.

Another great thing, besides being able to split the piano in 2 sections for your own use of different layers on each half, is that you can split it in “4 hands mode” as Kawai calls it. This gives two players their own 44 note piano in the same octave, which is a great tool for students and teachers.

The EP3 also comes with a built in metronome which allows you to change tempo and time signature, but that’s not all. It comes with 30 drum patterns to play along with, which is a must for practicing at home to get the feel of playing with a band.

As I mentioned before, Kawai is on top of technology, this digital piano comes with MIDI input and output and also USB – so you can plug this beauty into your computer to work with different learning software as well as recording your own stuff. Oh by the way, you do not necessarily need to connect it to your laptop to record your master pieces, the EP3 has two tracks for internal recording which can hold 15,000 notes, amazing isn’t it?

This EP3 has everything you need, it doesn’t matter if you want it for practicing at home or for gigging constantly, the EP3 will definitely do a great job for you. The price of this amazing digital piano is between $1,100 to $1,500 USD, which for all the features, is pretty tidy…just like the EP3.

Not for nothing Kawai means lovable and cute!

Check it out:

Luis Tovar
Luis Tovar

Roland HP-207

With a lot of piano reviews, you will hear the often repeated two-most-important-aspects of choosing a digital piano: touch and tone. Touch because you want to find a digital piano that closely resembles the real life feel of an acoustic piano which will give you that realistic ‘heavier’ feel of the low register and the ‘lighter’ feel of the notes in the higher register.

And tone, because tone is everything. Tone provides warmth and emotion to any piece of music and a digital piano that has captured the tone of an acoustic piano well, is one that you will enjoy playing on.

Which brings us to the Roland HP-207, the flagship model in the HP series. This digital piano features “an ultra-realistic 88-key multi-sampled piano sound” which captures the distinctive sound qualities of each note and faithfully reproduces it, right down to the string striking the hammer.

You can also control the design of the piano with the HP-207s Piano Designer function, which gives you full control over all aspects of the piano sound. It allows you to effective raise the top of the grand piano, alter the damper resonance and change the key touch to meet your playing comfort.

These features alone, make the 207 well worth a play. But like any half-decent digital piano, there are added features, such as effects and additional piano sounds. The HP-207 features Reverb, 4-band-equalizer, and tone effects to name a few. It boasts a massive 337 tones which you can layer any two together or split the keyboard with a tone each for the upper and lower registers.

If you’re concerned with polyphony, you won’t have a problem with the HP-207s max of 128 voices, which means your notes will be sustained longer without being lost among the other notes being played.

It has onboard memory containing 99 songs as well as the option to save to external memory. You can save your files as standard MIDI as well as playing them back in addition to Roland Original Format (i-format), standard WAV files and CDs.

There’s certainly enough features to keep you amused here, but the resounding impression you will be left with is the authentic tone and the realistic touch of a grand piano.

To hear just how great the HP-207 sounds and to give you some ideas of what is possible, check out the following video: