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Kawai VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller Reviews

5.0 stars based on 11 customer reviews
Questions about the Kawai VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller?

Questions about the Kawai VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller?

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  • from Iowa September 30, 2016Music Background:
    Piano

    In response to another review: all acoustic pianos have unfinished black keys 1/2 way daown

    Great action. Sits next to my Yamaha C6 grand for silent practice. Another reviewer stated it was unusual for the black keys not to be finished all the way down. All acoustic pianos share this characteristic.
    The action is different from my C6 acoustic grand but it is like many other acoustic pianos I have played. I use Pianoteq 5 as a software piano and a PlanB Piano shell as a stand for the keyboard.

  • from Southern CA April 3, 2014Music Background:
    Songwriter

    Favorite!!!

    Love the VPC-1! The action is great and editable. Best piano controller action out there. The simplicity of the layout is fantastic. Combined with the East West Bosendorfer, I'm more than satisfied.

  • from Columbia, SC March 31, 2014Music Background:
    Composer, Church Musician

    Amazing feel!

    Got the Kawai VPC1 to use with Finale on an iMac as well as Ivory 2 American Concert D software which I also got from Sweetwater. Both the KPC1 and Ivory 2 American Concert D are amazing! I have a real Kawai in my living room and it feels just like it; real wooden keys and action just like the real thing. The Kawai VC1 works great w my Finale software for creating music scores, etc.

  • from January 18, 2014Music Background:
    hobbyist

    best piano controller

    This is the best piano controller I have. Great hammer action. I bought it for my children's piano lessons.

  • from Seattle December 27, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Best Piano Controller

    I started my shopping by visiting a piano dealer (Roland, Kawai) and playing anything they had in store (acoustic and digital). I knew i wanted a digital one (no room for acoustic) but it provided me a lot of insight. Pretty quick I ended up always going back to the same one, Roland V-Piano Grand but no room and a bit pricy ($18,000) for me. From there I knew that I wanted the best piano key-bed I could find and I wanted modeling not sampling so no real incentive to pay for a sound module or integrated speakers.

    After a bit of experimenting and reading I decided on the VPC-1 / PianoTeq combination. I could not try the VPC-1 so it was a blind purchase but I didn't feel there was a lot of competition either. Well I'm definitely happy with my choice and it turned out to be everything I was hoping for.

    How does it stack against the V-Grand? The VPC-1 is definitely in the same league and the key feel is more a matter of preference than quality difference. The VPC-1 velocity curve is so easy to use and such a great feature. To me PianoTeq sounds even better as a modeling software and is a much more flexible option for evolution. For those that prefers sampling there is also plenty of great options (I mostly use NI). Last it comes down to the speakers. The V-Grand has great speakers for a d-piano (to me the biggest flaw of most of them). Well in my case I already had a Genelec 5.1 monitor system ($5K) in my home studio so it wins hands-down on the V-Grand. And if you're willing to spend some time setting up the 5.1 microphone feature of PianoTeq then sky is the limit. Do you need that much to make the VPC-1/PianoTeq sound great, probably not, but you need good monitors and adding a sub-woofer in the mix makes a world of difference in the bottom octave (a difference you can feel while you play). Now the V-Grand has a killer look... (I also consider the V-Piano but still twice the price with much less flexibility).

    Now on the flip side, not having a sound module also comes with some challenges. The main one if like me you're running a PC is the ASIO driver that cannot be shared with multiple applications (tried ASIO server and JACK but no silver bullet and too much latency). In a DAW setup (Sonar for me) I can do anything I want and it was easy. With other software it took me some time to figure out the right setup but it can be done. Not really a flaw but a consequence of this VPC-1/PianoTeq option to take in account.

    Finally, buy a great stand like the K&M Omega (w/ stacker option). I also added a Roland A-800Pro on top of my VPC-1 to add easy software controls and triggers. The A800 works well with Sonar but there is plenty of great options and the VPC-1 is very flexible in rerouting MIDI through its USB connection.

  • from New Jersey December 18, 2013Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Terrific Piano Controller

    My practice piano is based on Ivory II running on an iMac. I think my expectations are high for a controller - my regular piano is a Steinway grand that I maintain incessantly. I used several 88 note controllers in the past (StudioLogic, Roland, etc) and found the experience to be okay, but not great. The VPC-1 is a game changer - the playing experience (particularly with Ivory) is exceptional. You feel like you are playing the real thing. The response is unbelievable. The only downside I found is that it is a bit heavier and bigger than other 88 note controllers - a tradeoff to consider if you plan to transport it on a regular basis.

  • from Briny Breezes, FL USA June 13, 2013Music Background:
    Music Student

    vcp1 rocks

    Perfect. You need a good computer. I paired it with Ivory 2 concert d software. There was latency with new windows 8 PC i7 dual core with solid state drive. Switched to mac pro laptop with retina i5 and worked perfect. Be sure to get a great stand.

  • from Scottsdale, AZ March 22, 2013Music Background:
    Previously game composer, these days happy but serious amateur

    The best-feeling, most pure piano controller there is.

    I bought this sight unseen, as I couldn't imagine any dealer I'd have access to would ever have one. So I was a little nervous when it arrived - not quite buyer's remorse, but worried that I might. Within five minutes, all I could think was "I am going to spend SO many hours sitting in front of this thing."

    The feel of the keys is the best I've ever experienced in a digital piano. Real wooden, weighted keys! And _fast_, too. It looks great, minimalist and refined. Not full of knobs and faders, simply as "pure" as a piano controller could possibly be.

    This is a pure controller, with no in-built sounds, so you need a good software piano. While I had a few software pianos (mainly the ones included with Native Instruments Komplete) I wanted to try one of the four that the VPC1 includes custom "touch curves" for - I ended up trying, then buying Pianoteq Stage, and the add-on Bluethner pack. I'd never tried a modeled piano before, and have been thoroughly impressed with it. Definitely recommended to try with this.

    Be aware that it doesn't have a mod wheel, nor pitch bend. Fair enough; it's a piano controller. I have a few orchestral sample libraries that use mod wheel for dynamics, so when experimenting with them, I've just placed a small USB keyboard atop the VPC1, and used its mod wheel - and that works fine, though I've also experimented a little with using an iPad with the Lemur app, and I've had more fun with that, as I can create mod sweeps with inertia, etc. - if you're of a technical bent, try that. Having said that, I did get this intentionally as a piano controller, so most of the time I don't need - or want - a mod wheel.

    The VPC1 is heavy; a good stand is a must. I'm using the K&M Omega stand, as it doesn't have annoying crossbars to whack your knees, and it's built very solidly, with a very discreet, minimal look that I think matches the VPC1 well.

  • from Orem, UT May 22, 2014Music Background:
    Music Producer, Recording Engineer, Music Educator, Drummer/Pianist

    LOVE IT!!! Worth every penny!

    I LOVE this controller! Finally, somebody gets it. I have wanted a realistic piano controller for a long time and this is it.

    The price might seem high, but it really isn't when you consider a few factors.
    1. Half Damper pedal. Find another keyboard of this build with a half damper pedal. It doesn't exist. (plus you also get the sostenuto pedal and soft pedal)
    2. Wooden keys. This ads a lot to the durable touch of this keyboard.
    3. Much more realistic action. My previous "hammer-weighted" keyboard started having the problem of keys getting stuck. I took the keyboard apart and no amount of lubrication could fix the problem. I can't see the action of this keyboard having the same problem. The feel of this keyboard is far superior to my previous "hammer-weighted" keyboard.
    4. The Look. This keyboard does look amazing. It was a good choice to eliminate all of the controls. On the flip side, if you do a lot of sequencing, you will want to have another keyboard too that can give you all of that type of control. Those keyboards are super cheap now days and they can work along side this keyboard. So for example, you can use the Modwheel on the other keyboard while playing the keys on this keyboard.

    My only complaints are super minor and are as follows.
    1. There is a little bit of roughness next to some of the keys when the neighboring key is pressed down and if your finger rubs against it. Again, not a big deal, but can be a little distracting at times.
    2. Although the RM3 is amazing, if you want True Grand Piano feel, then the pivot point of the key would need to be further down the key likely requiring the keyboard to be even deeper then it is. This is found on Kawaii's GF Action. The only difference here is that the GF action would make it easier to press the key down at the very top of the key. Nevertheless, this is not a problem for me. You can still easily press the key down at the top of the key, it just isn't equally as easy as if it was at the bottom of the key. Only Grand Piano only snobby people would care (or even notice anything) about this.

    Overall, AMAZING keyboard for the price. Worth saving for.

  • from May 27, 2013Music Background:
    Classical Amateur

    A real instrument!

    Like the other reviewer this is the first time I have made a major purchase like this without trying it first. I was not disappointed! I am a classical player so what I was looking for is a practice instrument that is as good or even better than a real acoustic upright.

    The action is very nice. I can tell its not a 100% real piano action but Kawai has done an excellent job in coming close. As I play I don't feel that disconnect that I experienced with other keyboards. The triple sensor does make fast passage work a lot smoother. The wooden keys and simulated ivory tops feel good to the touch.

    The triple pedal unit works well and sits solidly on the floor. You can feel the gradations in the sostenuto pedal and does not quite feel continuous as it does on a real one but that's understandable given how it would need to be implemented. It is nice to finally have this kind of control and be able to use half pedal effects.

    In my mind the big plus are the velocity curves. One of the most frustrating things with a standard digital piano is that you never feel you can get achieve real louds and softs. What striked me most when I first tried it was that I could achieve a real pp and even a ppp. At last this level of control is available from an electronic instrument! Once I figured out how to setup the right velocity curve for the software I discovered a world of difference. You feel connected with the keyboard and it feels like you are playing a real instrument, not just a simulation.

    The only reason I'm giving it a 4.5 is the curved top. I guess maybe it was an aesthetic choice (and it does look nice) my laptop does not sit very well on it. Also a common occurrence now is that I leave my headphones on the top and they eventually slide off and hit the floor.

    The service from sweetwater has been great!

  • from San Jose June 2, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    Pretty Good

    I expected a lot out of this controller as it is hailed as the best piano controller on all the forums and every review I've red. To my knowledge that is probably true. This seems to be the best the industry can achieve to the feel of a real piano on a digital controller. But is it good enough? I argue far from it. Since no one seems to point out its shortcomings I'll be the one to do it:

    1. The RM3 II key tech is just not good enough. They should have included the GF tech in this, that Kawai puts in their other digital pianos. Due to the short keys sticks and closeness of the fingers to the fulcrum of the rocker is it very hard to press the keys especially when going deep into the black keys. Feels very unnatural compared to a real piano. Kawai's excuse it that this would have made the slab too deep. So what? This thing is not portable anyway.

    2. The top of the unit is curved meaning, everything you put on top slides down off it. Esthetically is makes sense but practically its a looser.

    3. The craftsmanship is not really at the expected level (maybe because its made in Indonesia ?).

    - Two of my black keys are tilted to the left as the unit came new. It was not damaged in the transport. The box was in good condition and wrapped very well. It looks like the wooden keys were either cut imprecisely or mounted a little off. I am living with it.

    - The gaps between the white keys are not consistent through out the keyboard.

    - The black keys are not finished all the way down. So when you press the white exposing the roots of the blacks, you feel the raw coarse unfinished wood of the blacks. Very unusual. Haven't seen this on any other keyboard.

    4. The sustain pedal feels very weird and unnatural. Probably due to the mechanism that they have employed for progressive sustain. It feels like there is friction inside there as if gears are grinding or winding up.

    5. Why not go optical on the sensors? ,so in a few years we won't have the problem that ultimately plagues every other controller -- uneven velocity key input. Apparently Kawai predicts this will happen so at least they do provide a per key velocity editor.

    Other than that, great controller.

Questions about the Kawai VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller?

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