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Kawai ES100 88-key Digital Piano with Speakers Reviews

4.5 stars based on 10 customer reviews
  • from Cranberry Township, PA May 30, 2016Music Background:
    classical pianist, songwriter, accompanist

    Finally...a gorgeous, rich piano sound...

    This piano is to replace my Roland FP7. I've owned another bigger Roland keyboard, the Motif 8 and General Music's Pro 88 key ~ that's the only size I get because I use it for classical practice. I was quite disappointed with SupraNatural keys as it lacked the power in the low register and was thin in the highest register. The Motif 8 had everything else besides a good piano. And the General Music keyboard is so long ago that I don't recall what it sounded like, although I don't recall a bad experience, just the the keyboard quit working and there was no place to get it fixed.

    I also entertained the Vicount Physis pianos, but the nearest place for me to walk in and play it is Toronto. I spoke to a rep at another store who was a pianist to narrow down the field. I was trying to narrow the field between Korg, Roland and Physis. I didn't want to get burned with another Yamaha that could do everything except give me a sweet grand piano sound. So, imagine my surprise when he mentioned the ES8 ~ yes, the same one that sold out the same day Sweetwater sent me the email that it was back in stock. I started researching the ES8 -- it had a whole lot of features I wanted, specifically great piano sound, great touch and the ivory feel, and the ability to key in a part of a sample track to practice to repetitively. I've put my hands on an ivory feel Kawaii feel keyboard a couple years ago and it is indeed realistic.

    But...I did not want to make another $2 grand mistake. So I looked down the Kawaii line for something PORTABLE - heck, lugging that FP7 around the country was a royal pain - and I've done it for what, five years, and other monsters like my Motif 8 for decades. I needed a lighter piano for sure for travel practise. That is when I found the ES100. OK...at 35 pounds, that is light. I can bring my folding german stand or the Z stand - no problem. I liked 196 polyphony (the ES8 has 256) and I liked that other buyer who mainly play piano have commented that it has a good piano sound. OK...you tell me I can get all that at this CHEAP price? Please PINCH me.

    OK...so I ordered one and made sure I got the custom stand and foot pedals for home use. I plugged it in after assembly and briefly scanned the manual.Then it dawned on me what it didn't have -- a screen. Oh groan. I didn't have a clue how I'd figure out exactly where the sound is. Good thing there's a pull out card. Now I got why the price point, sort of.

    So I put on my headphones and started playing. WHAT??? No that can't be. What effused from the headphones was a rich, gorgeous piano sound. The upper register enthralled me. And although the lower register could have a little more presence, I am thrilled. I know from the manual that there is a way to change the touch and a whole lot of other things, but this played WELL straight from the box. I haven't even wanted to turn on my FP7 since receiving this -- and the FP7 cost 3 times as much.

    I am beyond pleased with this purchase. It has got to be the best keyboard purchase I've made in well over 2 decades. It has also made the next purchase -- that of the ES 8 -- a sure bet. To protect this when traveling, I did order the Gator GKB 88 Slim case.

    The only other downside to this keyboard, beside the lack of a screen, is that the speaker are more than a little weak. Good thing I practice to headphones.The sound is so sweet on my Audio-Techinica ATH T22

  • from Rochester NY February 14, 2016Music Background:
    Many years of rock and roll

    Awesome digital piano

    I own several Roland pianos 300gx and a Kwai no 7 and I play this one over the other ones except for my acoustic Kwai. This piano sounds great feels good under my fingers even over the mp7. It's simple to use and light weight not a long learning curve.

    I haven't used it on a gig but may. I don't like the organ sound but the regular piano and Rhodes sounds are great. The split bass sounds like a real stand up bass player. You have to use s TRS cable to plug into an external amp from the ear phone jacks.

    It made me wish I didn't spend the money on an MP7 which is a techie nightmare to figure out.

    I'm an old rock and roller 70 years old still doing an occasional gig so light weight is what I need. I play this through a Beheringer amp drum machine and sing. I sound like a 3 piece band all by myself.

    On vacation rented a Korg basic keyboard. I found it to be junk. No comparison. It's like comparing a Chevy to a Lexus. This is an incredible piano b

  • from Pink, OK November 25, 2014Music Background:
    47 years as hobbyist and professional.

    Light weight keyboard with built-in speakers

    Great sound and feel.

  • from Pink, OK October 31, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Most impressed

    I have a couple of Kurzweil keyboards and a Kawai MP8, and wasn't expecting the sound and feel that this keyboard has. Very portable, simple to use and comes with a nice size music stand. Absolutely no buyer's remorse.

  • from Pacific Northwest July 24, 2014Music Background:
    Getting busier weekend warrior

    Review Update

    I need to update my review. The manual for the ES100 is lacking in some detail. So, I sent an email to Kawai Support with a question I had. Not only did I get a quick response (next day), but 3 or 4 very personal and entertaining emails later Sean O'Shea had found a solution to my issue. Kawai now has a life-long customer. That level of customer service, unfortunately, is not prevalent these days. Besides that the ES100 just plain sounds great at this price range!

  • from August 10, 2016

    kawai ES100

    This is my 1st experience with a keyboard. As a child I took piano lessons from my mother on a grand piano. Never continued for a long time and 60 years later wanted to learn piano again without buying a standard piano. Needless to say I have not begun to touch all the features. I chose this keyboard bc a concert I went to the keyboardist had this model. I am thoroughly happy with the quality. My weekly teacher tested it out and was happy with her testing. My teacher was very much aware of Sweetwater and indicated they were a good company. I also had a few questions for Sweetwater about the keyboard as I was getting acquainted with it and the return calls were very timely. Delivery was prompt also.

  • from September 16, 2015

    Kawai ES100

    The pianos, strings and dx7 samples are amazing for the price, the action is perfect for me. There is not much tweaking that can be done, the Rhodes is not stereo, and the vibrato cannot be controlled, and it doesn't have line out jacks other than 2 stereo headphone jacks. I don't believe you can find better piano sounds anywhere near this price. It sounds fantastic through good headphones. I ordered a y splitter to hear how it sounds through an amplifier out of the headphone jack,using a mono cord didn't sound right.

  • from Michigan August 18, 2015Music Background:
    Film composer, pro-musician 25+yrs

    Unbelievable piano-like feel

    This keyboard puts my other more expensive 88 key controller to shame. The piano sounds to me are just okay, but the authentic feel of the keys makes up for any inadequacy in sound quality. It's possible to express every nuance of a performance. The feel is very pro, so the slight inadequacy of the piano sound is not a deal breaker for me. I'm using this unit mainly for a controller, but I like that I can pick it up and bring it to a gig. The piano is good enough for that. The e-pianos are stellar.

    I want to give a special shout out to Sweetwater for handling my return with grace and no hassles. The first unit I received had a couple keys that made a subtle scraping sound. They sent me a new unit immediately. No scraping keys. I'd give this a perfect score if the piano sound stood up to my standards and if it had pro audio outs. For the price it's still winner.

  • from Pacific Northwest July 5, 2014Music Background:
    weekend warrior

    So far, so good!

    I wanted a digital piano that was simple, sounded good and I only had to push one button to be playing. The Kawai ES100 met all those needs. Some of the sounds are better than others, but as they say it is all a matter of taste. The natural pianos are very nice, a couple of great EP's and just last night I was really enjoying the jazz organ. Combining the grand piano with the slow strings makes for a very nice setting. Speaking of combining and splitting,this is where simple is a hinderance. Without a read out or dedicated buttons you are reliant on less than stellar instructions from the manual (especially the split mode). Then when you do find something that works you have to rely on your own memory as to settings.
    Overall I am very happy with this piano and so is my guitar player. He has rearranged a couple of tunes from full band to only piano and vocals for an upcoming performance.

  • from Nashville TN April 25, 2014Music Background:
    Music Producer, Programmer, Keys

    Kawai ES100-worth every penny

    This board is worth it just for the action alone, even if you only used it as a piano controller. It's small and lightweight but packs very good basic sounds, especially the acoustic pianos. They even 'mono' better than most.

    A pedal or two for occasional chorus on the EPs and rotary on the organ, and you're all set for most non-synth gigs.

    Highly recommended.

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