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June 2017 Giveaway

Kawai MP7 88-key Stage Piano and Master Controller Reviews

3.5 stars based on 12 customer reviews
Questions about the Kawai MP7 88-key Stage Piano and Master Controller?

Questions about the Kawai MP7 88-key Stage Piano and Master Controller?

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  • Alen
    from February 27, 2017Music Background:
    Music lead


    Got to play this in worship from one of my friends, and it is unbelievable, absolutely UNBELIEVABLE. Everything felt so comfortable and just met all my needs

  • Mike W
    from Boston November 3, 2015Music Background:
    Mostly recreational piano player

    Kawai MP7

    I got my MP7 a few weeks back. I did not want to spend the big bucks on a Nord but was looking for a piano that is enjoyable to play, has good sounds, and is durable enough to take around to shows without breaking. This piano is everything I was looking for and more. The main concert grand sound is great and the keys have a very nice weighting and do not give me the tacky feeling most keyboards do. If anything, they are a little too realistic as my forearms get tired very quickly when playing fast sections. However, that is probably just me being out of shape and not a knock against the piano. It doesn't compare to the real thing, but for the money it comes very close.

    The best feature of this piano is the interface. There are so many controls right up front that it is never hard to find the sound you are looking for. The mixer section makes it easy to queue up 4 sounds and switch back and forth without even having to think. All the sounds are totally customizable and those controls are also very easy to find using the LCD display and the rotary encoders. They've also made it easy to hook up a laptop and use this as a midi controller, so you aren't limited to the built-in sounds.

    The biggest weak spot I can find is that the sounds other than the concert grand aren't anything special. They are passable and I can usually find something "close enough" by tweaking the sounds, but they sound very synthesized and lack warmth and character. This is however mitigated by the fact that you can easily use the keyboard as a controller for any VST on a laptop, and map those instruments to a channel on the mixer just like any of the built-in sounds. For this reason I did not deduct anything for my review, however if you are looking for a standalone keyboard this may not be the best for you. Personally, I use this as the main piano in my bedroom studio and the occasional gig. For that purpose I don't think there is any better value out there.

  • Chris Gill
    from Goddard, KS December 8, 2014Music Background:
    Live Sound Engineer, Musician

    The One You've Been Looking For

    My wife is an elementary music, voice, and piano teacher. For the past several years she's been giving lessons on a cheap digital piano that she bought in college several years ago for her own practice time. I've been researching digital pianos for over a year now and played dozens of makes and models at different price points and finally decided to purchase a Kawai MP7… and boy am I glad I did!

    The first big question: “What’s the difference between the MP11 and the MP7?”

    Answer: Really only 2 major differences. The first is that the MP11 has wooden keys, the MP7 does not. The second is that the MP11 is geared toward someone who is ONLY interested in piano and organ sounds. The MP11 has 40 sounds while the MP7 has 256 sounds (pianos, organs, synths, strings, etc).

    *** TOUCH & FEEL ***
    In a word… AMAZING!!! The ivory feel keys took a minute to get used to, but once your fingers understand that they’re no longer touching cheap plastic, it’s heavenly. The fully weighted, graded hammer action keys are everything they’re supposed to be. I won’t go into detail about the mechanics, but you can close your eyes and almost think you’re playing an acoustic piano. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and research how the MP series action is designed.

    *** SOUNDS ***
    What is Kawai known for? It’s pianos. Does that surprise me? Not one bit. Kawai is a company that does one thing… make pianos! Everything they’ve learned about building acoustic pianos has been put into their digital pianos. I own several Native Instruments piano libraries and been very impressed with them… until now. The MP7 samples not only rival NI’s pianos, I think some of the Kawai sounds are BETTER! Hammer noise, damper noise, key let-off, sympathetic vibrations, lid positioning… it’s ALL there and customizable via knobs right on the center of the console! Even if this thing stopped at the pianos, it’d be worth it… but it doesn’t!

    The drawbar organ sounds are hands down the BEST reproductions I’ve heard. With a full range of virtual drawbars, you can achieve that perfect organ tone. The rotary and amp simulations are incredible and really bring the sounds to life. We’re talking HOURS of fun time here people!

    In this day and age, pretty much any mid to high end stage piano is going to have really nice E Piano sounds. The one thing (IMO) that really sets the Kawai apart from the others is the Amp Simulator. Again, to much information to go into detail about, but the short and sweet is that it’s TONS-O-FUN to play with… and sounds really nice too!

    This thing also comes loaded with all the other “stage piano” sounds you’d expect: strings, synths, pads, leads, horns, orchestra instruments, and just about anything else you might need in a live setting. The best part is they all sound really nice! My only gripe is that the acoustic guitar sounds are still too “piano” sounding. I own a couple of ultra-realistic acoustic sample libraries, so I know it can be done… digital piano manufactures just need to get with the program.

    *** USER INTERFACE ***
    I’m familiar with older Kawai pianos and the one thing that has always bugged me is their user interface. It’s clunky, difficult, and frustrating to navigate. Well not anymore! Kawai really stepped it up with the MP7. All sounds are organized into 8 clearly labeled banks. Each bank has 8 levels. Each level has 4 layers (A,B,C,D). What does this mean? ANY sound on the keyboard can be accessed by hitting no more than 3 buttons. Compared to other interfaces this is INCREDIBLE! No need to dig through tedious menus, or scroll through never-ending lists of sounds. The editable parameters of each sound are automatically called to the main display for live tweaking via the 4 knobs of the top of the board. It really doesn’t get any easier than that!

    *** WEIGHT ***
    Even though the MP7 is technically a “stage piano”, I certainly wouldn’t want to haul it around to gigs. It’s heavy duty, built extremely well, and I’m sure could handle the rigors of the road. I just wouldn’t want to purely because of the weight. It’s a big boy. I would say this thing is more at home in a church, school, or venue where it’s placement is semi-permanent.

    *** THE SHORT & SWEET ***
    The MP7 is a great sounding, wonderful feeling, easy to use stage piano. Built to last, and beautiful to look at. Worth every penny and then some! After a full year of demos, research and reading reviews, I’ve found the one.

  • Martin Bassotti
    from Glenmont, New York July 9, 2014Music Background:

    Awesome Instrument

    Plays like a great acoustic piano and can sound as great as your imagination would like. Inspires creativity and is simply a joy to play every time I sit behind it. I am very pleased to own this Kawai.

  • Lieu Nguyen
    from Mountain View, CA, USA May 27, 2014Music Background:

    Kawai MP7 digital piano

    This is the finest new digital piano under $2000 that I just bought recently. The Kawai MP7 is designed for people who want, what I consider to be, the best overall combination of excellent responsive piano key action, acoustic & electric piano sound realism, user interface, and additional useful features all rolled up into one portable piano. The Sweetwater sales staffs are excellent, specially TJ Bechill, I would like to recommend.

  • Mike Such
    from Philly February 16, 2016Music Background:
    well-fed musician hungry for more work

    Great Keyboard

    I got the MP7 in Jan 2015 and deliberately held-off on a review until I was sure of the board. I was lucky that a local dealer had this in stock: I was able to heavily audition this thing before I got it. Sweetwater turned out to be a much better source to deal with than the local store. My experience with this has been totally positive. The acoustic piano sounds, rhodes, whirly are spot on. I have a rhodes to do a/b comps against and the difference between the two is minimal. The user interface is easy and intuitive and you can adjust many parameters with the virtual tech to really dial in what you're trying to get to, even the noise of the keys releasing, the damper pedal noise, etc. The other sounds (strings/orch/organ/clav etc) are in the same league as other top-level boards. However,the action of the board is the best I have played. I basically had to change my approach to playing DP's as a result since I was not used to the tactile response this board offers. essentially, you can play as light as you can and this responds. or dig into the bottom octaves and fasten your seatbelt. It broadens your horizons and approach when you get this level of interaction between your minds ear, your hands, and a machine. I did have to play with the eq a bit as some of the acoustic pianos are a little heavy in the mids around middle c up to middle g. but no problem. I run this thru a mixer, power amp, and a 3-way 12" cabinet in order to provide full range and dynamic power. I read all the other reviews and obviously cant explain all that. I love this thing, I baby it when I gig and I choose to practice on this rather than my acoustic. The folks at SW are the best, and I cant thank my sales engineer ( Sean Geyer ) enough for his help.

  • Bryan Stern
    from ENCINITAS May 26, 2014Music Background:

    Finally! The DP I've Been Waiting For

    I have been through 3 other digital pianos this past year. None quite did it for me. Sweetwater was probably not that happy with my return cycle. Then, I purchased the MP7 from my kind and patient sales rep, Ray Leach. I had high hopes based on the reviews I had read.

    This one is a home run. Looks great. Very solid, like a sleek tank. The acoustic pianos are really quite good. The tines are surprisingly great. Midi implementation is very good. Editing is the best and easiest I have used so far.

    This is a lot of keyboard for the money and in my mind creams the Yamaha CP4, which was my last DP purchase. No DP is perfect, but this one comes the closest. And, that's good enough for me.

  • SS
    from Los Angeles March 12, 2015Music Background:

    Great Features, Poor Quality Control

    Perhaps I have just had bad luck with the MP7, but after returning the second one recently, I thought I would add some comments that might be useful for the buyer interested in this keyboard.

    On paper, the specs of this stage piano are excellent, particularly for the price. Triple sensor action, 256 note polyphony, 4 zone midi control, multiple sounds, and a solid metal case are desirable qualities in a modern board. For the price-though not inexpensive-you get a lot of really useful features. Compared to the Roland and Yamaha high end pianos, it would appear to be a good deal.

    The first unit I received arrived with a faulty LCD screen. There was a large and ugly black defect on a portion of the screen. Sweetwater was quick to offer a replacement, but because the units were back ordered, allowed me to keep the piano until the replacement arrived. In the meantime, I got to know the piano.

    I have owned multiple digital pianos over the years, including the MotifXF8, the Tyros 4, Roland 700GX and the Yamaha P155, so I have a general idea of keyboard feel. The Tyros of course is not a hammer action, but all the others are. I love the feel of the Motif, though it is not strictly a pianist's board, and I think the feel of the P155 is still one of the best, albeit a touch heavy. Of course, keyboard feel is a highly subjective matter.

    When I first started playing the MP7, I liked the action, but didn't love it. There was a bit of looseness to the keys that I didn't like. More alarming, as I continued to play it-only in a home studio, no gigging-I felt that the keys were beginning to loosen up even more. Still, the playability was acceptable. I also noticed a couple of other things: though the metal construction of the frame and case seemed solid, the sliders and buttons did not feel particularly high quality. Each slider had a different resistance to it, some not travelling smoothly within their range, and the plastic buttons produced a sharp clacking when pressed, and did not seem to light up all that well. I also noticed that in the middle C scale, I could see a green light emitting from under the keybed. Not a deal breaker, but a bit distracting if the light in the room was dim. Overall, I thought the sampled pianos were quite decent, though if I am recording or performing, I use either Pianoteq 5 or Ivory.

    The replacement unit finally arrived a month later, and I put it through its paces. First, I noticed that the key action was noticeably tighter than the first unit. A good sign, I thought, perhaps Kawai has fixed whatever initial problems there might have been on a new product. The slider and button actions were still the same, and so was the presence of the green light under the middle scale. But after a month of playing, the keys action started to badly degrade. In the C-2 to C-3 range, where one would typically be playing with the left hand, a loud clacking developed, and it grew worse from day to day. This was only after a month of playing no more than an hour or two a day. In contrast, none of the Yamaha or Roland boards I have used have ever developed noise, and that is after years of regular use. Playing at high volumes, I would not notice the clacking, but at lower volumes it was quite evident. Whatever one thinks about the various bells and whistles in modern stage pianos, the one, single critical aspect is that the keys feel good to play. Otherwise you won't play, and you won't trust the instrument. I could put up with the sliders and the buttons and the green light, but I cannot tolerate a loud, sloppy keyboard action on a piano of this price. No one should, I imagine.

    So, the second MP7 has been returned, and there will not be a third. This is not an inexpensive piano, and to chintz on the one crucial aspect of the instrument-the key action-is inexcusable. It is disappointing, because the MP7 offers a wonderful balance of playable sounds, master controller capabilities, and tweakability that is unrivalled at this price point. I will replace it either with a Roland or a Yamaha, but neither of those offers the midi flexibility that the MP7 can boast. I would have happily paid several hundred dollars more for the same keyboard with a keybed manufactured to a higher standard.

    I did a bit of research online, and discovered that the quality control issues-at least on the MP7-are not unique to my experience. There are the glowing reviews by those who have the board for a few days, and then there are the ones who actually own it, and start to have problems. Until Kawai gets the quality control issues under control, I cannot recommend the MP7. It is made in Indonesia, as opposed to Japan, and unfortunately the defects show. If you are going to purchase it, make sure you buy from a good seller that is willing to take the board back and pay for the return shipping.

  • Jet
    from Cambridge January 9, 2015Music Background:
    going on 25 years with the keys

    MP7 nice but CP4 better

    First, I want to thank Sweetwater for exceptional service and advice. Well, I bought a MP7 and it was very nice in the beginning, BUT after a few months I started to come across some issues with noisy keys and a few other little quirks. Also, it was heavy for gigs and design is a bit obsolete compared to some other latest lightweight stage pianos. Kawai is excellent up front but the quality is the "elephant in the room". Seems that everything Kawai makes is too good to be true for t the price. Well it is for the first few months then you realize how inferior the quality is. Not sure whats going on with quality control at Kawai. Anyway , I exchange for a CP4 and the sound, feel and quality is amazing. Sure it might not have all the bells and whistle of the MP7 but the sound of the CP4 and overall quality is outstanding. Please do not think i am bashing Kawai - I am not - the MP7 sounds great.. All I am saying is to just do a thorough research an demo before you spend a lot of money on a stage piano.

  • Customer
    from March 24, 2015

    The MP7 honneymoon is over for me

    Geez, I wanted MP7 so badly last fall I bought it sight-unseen. I loved it when it arrived and overwhelmed by its looks for certain. It took me awhile to love the piano sound and convinced myself I did. I know I should have returned at that moment but still had that out-of-the-box love I had at day one. Then after a few months of playing things started to fall apart, literally. Like the other reviews i experience many of the same problems. Once several keys stated making loud noises I had enough. Went to Kawai for help and after going back and forth trying to get resolved i gave up. Although Kawai support is extremely friendly and helpful does not make their products any better. I guess it was too good to believe what I was getting for the price. Now I know better. You might want to wait for the next generation MP and see if they figured out the quality issues. Hey Kawai, charge more money and get your products to a proper quality standard. Glad to pay the extra. I think you have the right idea just make it right and we will happily pay for quality.

  • Jo-Se
    from Newton December 2, 2015Music Background:
    keys for many-o-years

    Oh Boy. Not good news

    I love the reviews an sounds I read and heard online about MP7. I needed a semi replacement and-or additional piano to may stack. Bought this without trying assuming it would be great piano. I ordered it and was DOA. I plugged in every outlet in the house thinking it was me but it was a bad board. No worries as it was returned without issue for a new one. It was a big hassle but got it done like shipping any large object. Now here is the 'oh boy" . I got the second MP7 and two yes two keys did not work B2 and C3. I can only blame shipping to a point but I thing we have a quality issue. The best I can say is that the action feels great without sound. I was too frustrated to get into the sound of a broken keyboard. I think buyer beware with Kawai. Maybe ask the sales guy to try it before they ship it to make sure its all good if possible.. . This stage piano is built like a brick house but only has the quality of a straw house. Sorry to those who love this board. I understand why you think it is great. Maybe just my bad luck. Thank you Sweetwater for all your advice. I love that you answer the phone. You are the true pros. I will be shopping with you soon for a new killer board.

  • Abby
    from Massachusetts February 6, 2015Music Background:
    Singer, songwriter and music teacher. Piano and organ since the age of 8. I'm much older and wiser now :)

    I am disappointed and a little frustrated :(

    I gave this one star because the MP7 is just not right for me and feel I need to say why. I am on my third MP7 now. The first two I had to return due to technical issues. Fist time it was an issue with the sound engine. Second time the keys were clicking. This last time I am getting an odd dull humming noise. It's not bad but I'm afraid it could lead to something worse.with my track record with this piano. I don't understand it. Maybe it was a bad production run. Overall it is a nice looking piano. The concert grand piano sounds are lovely. They keys are like real piano. Looks like high quality on the outside but the insides might be a very different story. I am done with this brand for good. I think it's time to try another brand even if it might costs me more money. It's too bad as I got a discount price for $1745 and I really need a good stage piano for my work. Oh well, third time is not a charm for me. The good news is my coworker suggested Sweetwater. They are very polite and helpful. Thank you..

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