Today’s digital pianos pack an exceptionally high amount of realism.
Right from the authentic acoustic sound to the actual feel of the keys, digital pianos are no more a fashion statement.
We have reached a stage where you can have an instrument that looks, sounds, and feels like an acoustic piano but is also digitally advanced to offer sound, connectivity, and recording options.
As brands pick up on these cues, the competition intensifies.
The most interesting rivalry brewing in the world of digital pianos is between the industry giants, Kawai and Yamaha.
Both have been going neck to neck in the race to acquire the bigger market share and producing intensely competing models.
Kawai Vs Yamaha Digital Piano – Updated 2020
Before we jump into further analysis, let’s establish the fact that both of these brands produce some of the best quality digital pianos out there.
With that being said, both have different approaches.
Utilizing real wood and natural materials, Yamaha takes a more traditional route in mimicking acoustic pianos whereas Kawai experiments with high grade plastic.
In line with their traditional approach, it is safe to say that Yamaha targets conservative musicians who look for a high level of authenticity in their instruments while Kawai tailors its range towards the modern pianist.
These differences go beyond material and design and transcend into tone and performance as well.
Yamaha produces a brighter tone filled with warmth, especially in the higher frequency range.
Kawai designs its pianos to be a bit flatter which produces an organic tone.
The differences don’t end here, they show up in the brand’s feedback mechanism as well.
The weighted action plays a key role in determining the quality of a digital piano and Kawai takes the trophy for releasing the best-weighted action keyboards in the market.
Even though they use composite material, you can still play extremely subtle on Kawai.
In terms of weighted action, Yamaha isn’t far behind either.
Since they emphasize using natural materials, they are able to closely mimic the action of an acoustic piano without losing on the feeling of authentic piano keys.
Clearly, there isn’t a definitive winner in the whole Kawai vs Yamaha battle in terms of quality, as both brands deliver exceptional quality pianos.
What it boils down to is what aligns with your style.
Some players dig the traditional vibe of Yamaha while others prefer the modernity that comes with Kawai.
With all the factors we have discussed so far, the best way to mark a clear difference between the two brands is to reveal a head to head comparison of their popular models.
In the further frames, we have chosen digital pianos that are similar in design and also fall within the same price range.
Kawai KDP90 Vs Yamaha YDP 163
As a head-on comparison, KDP90 is Kawai’s direct answer to Yamaha YDP.
Identical in design, both feature rosewood finish, 88 overall keys, and matching build quality.
In terms of key action, Kawai uses Advanced Hammer Action IV-F which offers completely springless design while the Graded Hammer 3 (GH3) weighted key action from Yamaha features a triple sensor action that adds more expression and control.
A pretty versatile sound engine sits inside the Yamaha YDP 163 which goes by the name of Pure CF.
The engine is equipped with a wide array of presets but the most popular one is the concert grand piano.
The sound engine Kawai boasts of is the Harmonic Imaging System which is exclusive to Kawai models.
Besides concert grand, the KDP90 comes with a variety of other voices.
To experience responsive and dynamic sound, both the models are equipped with an impressive 192 note polyphony.
Another similarity is the number of pedals both of them carry – 3. The Kawai KDP90 comes with 3 types of reverb effects while the Yamaha comes with a reverb of 4 types which includes the IAC (Intelligent Acoustic Control) 10 demo songs.
Kawai CE220 Vs Yamaha YDP 181
The Yamaha YDP 181 falls into the Arius range of pianos and every Arius piano is built with features that will grow with the player, no matter what level he starts at.
Just like other Arius models, this one includes all three pedals (damper, sostenuto, and soft) supported by a full 88-key keyboard.
Kawai stands at the same place on the pedaling front as it does on the 88 keys.
Kawai CE220 takes the lead with 22 preset voices including strings, chorus, organ, harpsichord, electric piano, and synth while Yamaha rests at 14 voices.
The increased 192-note polyphony on the Kawai model allows greater expression while the 128-note polyphony on the Yamaha YDP 181 ensures that even the most complex music can be heard clearly.
Both feature Graded Hammer Action Technology which lends the keyboard the feel of a real acoustic piano.
On the sound engine front. Kawai uses the Progressive Harmonic Imaging to produce a well-sampled piano sound while Yamaha uses Advanced Wave Memory stereo sampling to deliver the sound that comes close to an acoustic instrument.
Are Kawai Pianos Good?
Despite being less globally renowned than Yamaha, Kawai is a pure piano specialist on both acoustic and digital fronts.
Kawai’s CN series of pianos have bagged the “Home Digital Piano Line of the Year” title in 2014 and all of their following products have been performing consistently at the same award every year since then.
Kawai Or Yamaha – Which One Is Better?
The bottom line is, the piano you would love the most will depend on your own taste.
In terms of quality, there is a certain standard set in the market that every high-end digital piano has to meet.
As a pianist, your focus should be on figuring out what you are expecting from a digital piano and which of the models meet those expectations.
The logo sitting on the piano shouldn’t matter as far as you have got the specs right.
Last update on 2020-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API